General Motors Co reported on Monday its largest drop in sales for China in the past five months during August as many global automakers are struggling with a deepening slowdown in the economy and dropping equities in the largest auto market in the world.
Sales of vehicles for GM and its partners in a joint venture fell by 4.8% in August compared to the same month last year, while Ford Motor as well as Nissan Motor also reported shrinking sales for August, highlighting the divide between the winners and losers in China’s car market.
The figures are in sharp contrast with last week’s large gains in sales for Honda Motor, Toyota Motor and Daimler the maker of Mercedes Benz in China, which demonstrates the importance of fresh, new, in demand vehicles are needed to attract buyers.
The economy in China is forecasted to expand at its slowest rate in over 25 years in 2015. Mainland financial markets have plunged by 40% since the middle of June after a run up of intense proportions that started in 2014.
Mercedes is offering a fresher lineup of key luxury competitors across China, having gone through a revamping of many models more recently than BMW and Audi and helping lift its overall deliveries in August by over 53%.
Over the last year, Toyota and Honda have released SUVs that have become hot sellers, a segment that an industry publication predicts will expand by over 20% in 2015 in defiance of a slowdown in the auto market overall.
Automakers such as GM are attempting to catch up. The automaker from the U.S. launched its new SUV this past July under its budget brand Baojun, but the nearly threefold growth in sales year to date has not been sufficient to lift the automaker’s relatively flat sales for 2015.
The sales figures for GM, Nissan and Ford bode poorly for the overall market sales for August. Industry sales from January through the end of July were up just 0.4% compared to last year during the same period.
Volkswagen is the top selling carmaker in China with close to 18% of the overall market followed by GM then Hyundai Motor.