China automakers forecast 2% fall in sales for 2020

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Sales in December were off 0.1 percent from a year earlier, CAAM said.

After a three-month transition period that ended on June 25 a year ago, local governments stopped subsidizing purchases of NEVs other than new energy buses and fuel cell vehicles, resulting in sharper declines of NEVs sales in the latter half of 2019.

But global automakers have been cautious with their predictions after cutting back production, shutting factories and firing staff a year ago.

In China, Ford makes cars through its joint venture with Chongqing Changan Automobile and Jiangling Motors.

China's auto sales fell for a second year in 2019, an industry group reported Monday, as a trade war with Washington and an economic slowdown fueled consumer anxiety and demand for electric vehicles weakened.

Ford has pared losses in China, posting a $565 million loss for the first nine months of 2019, better than a loss of about $1 billion for the year-earlier period.

The latest fall, however, was slower than the 37% weathered in 2018, and the automaker said it saw its market share stabilise in the high-to-premium segment.

But it remained cautious about 2020, echoing bearish comments about sales in China from General Motors Co.

"We expect the market downturn to continue in 2020, and anticipate ongoing headwinds in our China business", Matt Tsien, president of GM China, said last week as the United States automaker reported a 15 per cent drop in 2019 China sales. Among the major worldwide automakers, Ford appears to have been hit the hardest, with 26.1% sales in China in 2019.

The company sold a total of 567,854 vehicles in 2019. GM sales in China peaked at just over 4 million units in 2017.

The automaker plans to launch more than 30 new models in China over the next three years of which over a third will be electric vehicles.

While Ford's pricing power in China has improved, those gains have been offset by continued sales declines, which were worse than the company expected in the third quarter, the executives said.

"The pressure from the external environment and downward trend of the industry volume will continue in 2020", said the CEO of Ford Greater China, Anning Chen, in a statement. Annual sales started falling in 2018, by 2.8 per cent, halting a growth march that started in the 1990s.



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