Ford's China vehicle sales drop 26% in third straight year of decline

Ford's China vehicle sales drop 26% in third straight year of decline

A Ford model is seen during the China International Import Expo, at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in ShanghaiMore

Global automakers are cautious about their prospective sales in China's vehicle market this year, the world's biggest, as pressures such as slowing economic growth and trade frictions look set to continue. Honda Motor Co's China sales also grew 8% year-on-year to a record 1.55 million cars.

Ford (NYSE:F) announced that its China vehicle sales in 2019 fell 26.1% from a year earlier to 567,854 units, as the USA automaker continues to battle a prolonged sales decline in its second-biggest market. Sales dropped 6.9% in August from the same month in the prior year, according to industry figures.

After two decades of explosive growth, China suffered its first annual decline in auto sales in 2018, because the turmoil with President Donald Trump and slowing economic growth led consumers to postpone major purchases.

The company plans to keep its product revitalization plans on track with 30 new vehicles coming during the next three years.

In 2020, the subsidy policy for the NEVs sector will remain largely stable, Xinhua learned from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, adding there will be no big subsidy retreats.

NEV sales for 2020 would likely "stay at the same level or slightly increase" versus previous year, Xu said.

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

Sales of Ford Motor Co.'s models in China decline for the third year in a row by 26.1%, less than half of what the auto giant sold in 2016, and they could get even worse in 2020, said the company.

Executives at automakers such as Geely and Ford Motor Co partner Chongqing Changan Automobile Co Ltd have said they expect fiercer competition to weed out weaker players.

China continues to be a hard market for the Ford Motor 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 automaker reported a 15% drop in sales in 2019.

The bright spots have been Japan's Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co Ltd as well as U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc, which started delivering China-made Model 3 sedans from its $2 billion Shanghai plant this month. In total, it bought 567,854 automobiles over 2019.

Sales of electric and petrol-electric hybrid sedans and SUVs fell 4% more in 2019 than a year earlier to 1.2 million.

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