The fall off in auto sales in China hit Ford hard last month as the company reported its sales fell 8.7% in February compared with year-ago results.
The drop is in stark contrast to the maker’s January results when sales rose 36%. Through the first two months, sales for Ford and its Chinese partners are up 18%, but the year expected to be a tough one for automakers.
However, those putting out sport-utility vehicles will enjoy an advantage as those vehicles are the hot sellers in that market right now.
Year-to-date sales for Changan Ford Automobile, Ford’s passenger car joint venture, totaled 160,119 vehicles, up 29% compared to last year. CAF sold 48,263 vehicles in February, down 10% from 2015.
The Ford Escort continues to be a top-seller for Ford, with 13,173 vehicles sold in February, up 15% compared to February 2015.
(GM China sales drop 9.3% in February. For more, Click Here.)
Jiangling Motors Corp., Ford’s commercial vehicle investment in China, sold 14,054 vehicles in February, up 3% compared to February 2015. Year-to-date sales totaled 31,309 vehicles, down 13% compared to last year.
The results were in stark contrast the company’s record-setting January sales results. The maker started the year with 130,832 vehicles sold, including record sales of the Ford Escort, the new Ford Mondeo, and Ford’s sport utility vehicle line-up helped boost January sales.
Ford set a record for sales in China in 2015 as annual sales of Ford vehicles reached 1,115,124, up three percent compared to 2014.
(Click Here for details about the new four classic pickups that got the USPS stamp of approval.)
Ford wasn’t alone in its struggles last month. General Motors reported it sales in China dropped by 9.3% during February, reversing the sales gain the automaker reported during January.
GM blamed the decline on seasonal factors, notably the early start to the Chinese New Year holiday, which shuts down commerce throughout China.
But with concerns about the path of the Chinese economy rattling markets around the world, the decline in February is bound to feed the anxiety over future auto sales in China, which is now the world’s largest market.
(To see why GM is shifting its focus to China and beyond, Click Here.)
However, the expectations for auto sales in China are they will experience modest growth led by the increased interest in SUVs and the ongoing love of luxury cars.