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Light-vehicle market may contract in 2018, China official warns
Bloomberg | 2018/11/9

A Chinese government official has sounded the most direct warning yet about the nation¡¯s slumping car industry.

China¡¯s light-vehicle sales will come in under 30 million units this year and may even fall below 2017¡¯s tally, Wu Wei, a divisional director under China¡¯s top economic planning body, said Wednesday. Automakers and suppliers shouldn¡¯t expand production capacity blindly, and instead should focus more of their investments on research and product development, according to Wu.

A drop would mark the first full-year slide in China¡¯s car sales in about two decades, coming on the heels of four straight months of declines as slower economic growth and a trade conflict with the U.S. hurts demand. 

Car sales in China totaled 28.9 million units last year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

¡°It¡¯s not necessary to build production capacity blindly,¡± Wu said at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. ¡°The development of a manufacturing business doesn¡¯t just depend on capital. Sustainable investment returns over the long term are key.¡±

Sales of new-energy vehicles are expected to surpass 1 million units this year and account for more than 3 percent of total light-vehicle sales, said Wu, a director at the machinery equipment division under the Department of Industries at the National National Development and Reform Commission.

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