For the first time in 10 years, car imports have dropped in both demand and supply in the Chinese market.
According to the China Automobile Dealers Association, car imports declined 19.9 percent from January to April year-on-year. The number of imported cars registered with license plates dropped 6.7 percent over the same period.
Foreign enterprises should adjust their strategies amid the decline in the Chinese market, said Xiao Zhengsan, deputy general secretary of the association. "Getting rid of inventory will be the main task for import car dealers in China for the rest of this year."
Hu Siyu, a researcher at the association, attributes the decline to the overall slump in the Chinese economy, the nation's anti-graft campaign and the consumers' return to rationality.
"The sales of import cars in China are closely related to the growth of the Chinese economy," Hu said.
"When the economy grows faster than 8 percent each year, growth in the sales of imported cars will also rise quickly. But when the annual economic growth drops below 8 percent, though the sales of domestic cars will be steady, the decline in the sales of imported cars will be palpably dramatic."
Hu attributes the drop in luxury import cars, about 50 percent for some models, to the anti-corruption campaign and the decline in the purchase of gas-guzzling cars to the greater awareness of environmental issues from the public and the government. Among imported cars, 93 percent of them are cars with an engine smaller than 3 liters.
The improvement in quality and design of some domestically made cars is another reason explaining the decline in imported vehicles.
The association's data show that the stock of imported cars in China in the first four months of the year is about 5.1 months.
In April, the price of imported cars dropped by 11.2 percent on average in Chinese.
Parallel auto imports, which have already been made available in the Shanghai and Tianjin free trade zones, will also vie for market share in the import car market.