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Peak months no longer shine as car sales lose their luster

By Cao Yingying | China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-14 13:12
Geely vehicles await sale at a dealership in Changzhou, Jiangsu province. [Photo by Wang Qiming/For China Daily]

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Auto experts said that the traditional "golden September and silver October", which refers to the period of best market performance each year, is fading as sales didn't meet expectations.

The latest statistics of the China Automobile Dealers Association show that the vehicle inventory alert index reached 58.6 percent in September.

It means that car inventories have hovered above the alert level for 21 months in a row.

The index should be lower than 50 percent when the market is healthy.

It is composed of inventory, market demand, dealerships' finances and surveys of dealers' purchases, sales and stocks.

According to statistics released on Saturday by the China Passenger Car Association, 1.78 million passenger cars were sold last month.

This represents a year-on-year decline of 6.5 percent. Sales during the first nine months decreased 8.6 percent compared with same period last year.

Dealers said that the auto market didn't meet their expectations last month. A combination of factors was blamed.

Some customers looked forward to discounts in the National Day holiday and adopted a wait-and-see attitude in September. It's also busy farming season in northern regions where the locals don't have time to buy a car, CADA said.

The index is 5.8 percentage points lower than August. The association said that some customers planned holidays for the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday and this may have affected the demand for car purchases.

Car dealers are under greater pressure because they had to increase car inventories to fulfill their seasonal obligation in the last month of the third quarter. Meanwhile, vehicle prices decreased which meant lower profits.

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