China’s vehicle sales weakened further in the first two months of this year as the economy slowed and higher fuel prices deterred some buyers. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Friday that car sales in January-February fell 4.4 percent from a year earlier to 2.37 million vehicles. Total sales, including trucks and buses, dropped 6 percent to 2.95 million vehicles.
Some 1.21 million passenger cars were sold in February, up 26.5 percent from a year earlier. Total vehicle sales rose 24.5 percent year-on-year to 1.57 million vehicles.
Geely Automobile Holdings said its parent and Volvo Car had signed a technology transfer deal allowing the Chinese maker of low-cost cars to enrich its product portfolio and make it more competitive in its home market. “It will support us in realising the aspirations to make China our second home market,” Stefan Jacoby, president and chief executive of Volvo, said on Friday.
Under the agreement, Zhejiang Geely will leverage its full access to technology authorized by the Swedish carmaker to develop a new premium brand for the Chinese market, said Yang Xueliang, a spokesperson for Geely’s parent company.
Ford said Wednesday its sales in China totaled 40,978 vehicles in February, up 28% on year and bolstered by strong demand for its Mondeo sedan and Transit transporter van. Ford sold 27,616 Ford-branded vehicles in February, an increase of 21%, it said in a statement.
CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer told Chinese journalists at the Geneva Auto Show that Bentley is developing a stretched Mulsanne for the Chinese car market. He also said that Bentley is planning to start production of the EXP 9F SUV in 2015, the SUV is primarily developed for Asian markets. China is currently Bentley’s number two market worldwide after the US, Bentley expects China to take the number one spot in 2013.
China became Ferrari’s second-largest market worldwide in 2010 and the Italians want more. Ferrari is therefore expanding its Chinese dealer network. Traditionally the big money was on the east coast but nowadays there are also many potential Ferrari buyers in the rich cities of the west and southwest.
Audi set a new record on the Chinese market in February. With a total of 31,352 vehicles delivered in China and Hong Kong, the company increased sales by 66 percent over February 2011. This marks the first time that Audi has topped the 30,000 unit mark in one month. The brand also confirmed its position as the premium-segment market leader in China.
General Motors said Tuesday it sold 240,554 vehicles in China in February, a record for the month and up 31 percent on the year, despite an overall slowdown in the Chinese market. The number of cars and trucks that GM sold was also the third highest number for any month in the company’s history in China, according to the statement.
Chinese carmaker Chery Automobile Co on Tuesday said its overseas shipments jumped 56.7 percent year-on-year to 11,035 units last month. More than half of the exported cars were manufactured in Chery’s overseas production centers, indicating strong overseas output capacity, said Jin Yibo, a company spokesman.
China will control the increase in auto manufacturing capacity and encourage mergers and reorganizations in the industry, according to a work report that Premier Wen Jiabao delivered at the nation’s legislature.
The government will promote new-energy vehicles and encourage the scrapping of old vehicles to reduce pollution, according to a separate report today by the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planner.