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January-February sales likely to decline year-on-year

Due to the week-long national Spring Festival holidays from February 10 through 17, China’s automobile sales in February are expected to decline as drastically as they rose in January.

Sales of passenger vehicles (cars, SUVs, MPVs and microvans), which hit 1.47 million in January, up close to 50 percent year-on-year, will be less than 1 million in February, according to analyst Cui Dongshu with the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).

In the first three weeks of February, Cui wrote in his blog on auto.sohu.com, daily sales declined by an estimated average of 42 percent compared to the first three weeks in January.

Kimiyasu Nakamura, president of Nissan’s JV in China, expects a sales decline of 20 percent in January-February compared to the same months in 2012, even though the company saw a growth of 22.2 percent in sales in January.

The seasonal fluctuation during the months of January and February has been a known factor affecting automobile sales. But because the Chinese Lunar New Year’s Day in the Year of the Snake fell late on February 10, the fluctuation in sales has been unprecedented in 2013. Pre-holiday sales this year fell mostly in January instead in early February when consumers started preparing for the annual holiday season. Additionally, work tends to be slow in the week after the national holidays until the Lunar January 15, the Lantern Festival, which fell on February 24.

Total automobile sales in January-February 2012 were 2.96 million units. Even though January 2013 sales were a record 2 million, total sales in the first two months of 2013 may very well hit into the negative range year-on-year.

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