China auto sales fell 4% in October, 16th month of decline


BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Auto sales in China fell for a 16th consecutive month in October, with the number of new energy vehicles (NEVs) sold contracting for the fourth month in a row, data from the country’s biggest auto industry association showed.

Total auto sales in the world’s biggest auto market fell 4% from the same month a year earlier, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said on Monday.

That followed declines of 5.2% in September and 6.9% in August. Car sales in 2018 declined from a year earlier, the first annual contraction since the 1990s, against a backdrop of slowing economic growth and a crippling trade war with the United States.

Sales of NEVs fell 45.6% in October, CAAM said, following a 33% decline in September. NEV sales jumped almost 62% last year even as the broader auto market contracted.

NEVs include plug-in hybrids, battery-only electric vehicles and those powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

China has been a keen supporter of NEVs and has implemented sales quota requirements for automakers. But it cut subsidies for NEVs this year as part of an overall plan to reduce subsidies, making the vehicles costlier and dampening demand for them.