China auto sales set for third year of decline -industry association

FILE PHOTO: Workers inspect vehicles at a workshop of a production base of Great Wall Motors in Yongchuan, Chongqing, China October 22, 2019. Picture taken October 22, 2019. China Daily via REUTERS/File Photo

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s auto market, the world’s biggest, is set for a third year of contraction with a 2% decline in sales next year, hit by a weaker economy and U.S.-China trade tensions, the country’s top auto industry body said on Thursday.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) expects sales to slide to about 25.31 million vehicles in 2020, Xu Haidong, CAAM’s assistant secretary general, said at a conference on Thursday.

CAAM told Reuters in October that 2019 sales are expected to fall to about 26 million vehicles this year, down about 8% year on year. Xu repeated that prediction on Thursday.

China’s car sales fell by 9.1% in the first 11 months this year, having slid 3% last year in the first sales contraction since the 1990s.

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by David Goodman