China’s new-car sales gains fell to the lowest level in almost two years amid a slowdown in the economy.
Hardest hit were domestic brands and Japan’s leading auto makers, which have introduced fewer new models and continued to suffer from the fallout of a territorial dispute between Beijing and Tokyo that flared up in 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Aside from the slowing economy, the newspaper cited intensifying competition and curbs on car ownership as factors for declining sales.
The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said passenger-car sales in November grew 4.7 percent from a year earlier to about 1.8 million vehicles. It was the weakest gain since February 2013, when the week-long Lunar New Year festival dented sales.
Mass-market brands have reported falling sales last month. Nissan and Honda Motor each said November sales fell 12 percent from a year ago, while Ford Motor saw sales fall 5 percent.
The slump in sales left some car makers with growing inventories. Since June, inventories with dealers have been 10 to 20 percent higher than a year ago, according to the China Automobile Dealers Association (CADA).
In China, analysts regard one-and-a-half months’ worth of sales on lots as the “alert level” where dealers should begin to be concerned about high inventory, the newspaper said. As of October, dealers on average held 1.48 months of sales in inventory, CADA data showed.
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