China auto sales eclipse flat US market in November
China accounted for a quarter of the global automotive industry sales in November, the highest-ever proportion, as manufacturers intensified their marketing in that country while shifting away from slower growing markets.
General Motors Co.'s top sales analyst Mike DiGiovanni said Tuesday that industry auto sales in China rose 93% in November compared with the same period last year. This compares with 6.7% in western Europe, 5% in Latin America and 2.7% in the United States.
Auto makers are scrambling to secure a solid sales source as they contend with a slow economic recovery in the U.S. and a potential nightmare in Europe with the ending of scrappage incentives that artificially spurred consumer buying in countries such as Germany and Italy.
Here in the U.S., single-digit increases were reported by Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Co., while GM and Chrysler Group LLC reported declines.
The U.S. sales reports released Tuesday suggested sales have stabilized after the end of government incentives in August, though they were bolstered by easy year-ago comparisons.
George Pipas, Ford's U.S. sales manager, estimated a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 10.4 million to 10.5 million during a conference call. That was in line with October's performance and ahead of the 10.17 million sold in the same period last year.
However, auto makers failed to revive consumer buying despite a flurry of new incentives by both GM and Chrysler to clear out 2009 inventory.
Car-shopping Web site Edmunds.com said the average automotive manufacturer incentive in the U.S. was $2,713, up 1.9% from the prior month, noting GM, Chrysler and Ford spent the most on incentives.