Passenger vehicle sales in China surged 7.9 percent in March while wholesale deliveries jumped to 1.7 million units, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. In 2013, the association identified eight Chinese cities that may restrict car purchases, with two of them -- Hangzhou and Tianjin – already imposing such measures.
According to the Passenger Car Association, orders for vehicles reached 70,000 in Hangzhou on the day the city imposed quotas on new license plates. It is estimated that such panic purchases could boost vehicle sales in China by 500,000 units in 2014.
Xu Minfeng, an analyst at Central China Securities Holdings remarked that since 2013, there have been fears of ownership restrictions, noting that Hangzhou followed recently after the city of Tianjin started limiting vehicle registrations. In the first quarter of 2014, General Motors outsold Volkswagen AG to regain the sales lead among foreign carmakers in China.
GM posted a 13-percent jump in sales in China to 919,114 vehicles in the quarter, while Volkswagen logged a 14-percent leap in sales in China -- including Hong Kong – to 880,700 units. Overall, vehicle sales in China surged 6.6 percent to 2.2 million units in March and 9.2 percent to 5.9 million units in the first quarter of 2014.
Domestic brands accounted for 39.3 percent of industry sales, registering its seventh consecutive month of decline, according to CAAM. The association’s Secretary General Dong Yang remarked that drop exposes the weak competitiveness of domestic brands, which may continue for a while. He noted that the time for local brands to melee against foreign brands has already started and the outlook for them “isn't optimistic."