China Sentiment For Autos Slips In September

Volkswagen Still A Favorite, Honda Rises

Chinese consumer confidence towards the automobile market has ended the third quarter on a slightly weaker note. While Chinese consumers remained enthusiastic about the car purchasing environment, a rise in expected running costs weighed on overall sentiment towards the car market. That said, more Chinese households reported they currently owned a vehicle and planned to purchase another over the next 12 months, according to the latest MNI China Auto Purchase Sentiment Report.

The MNI China Car Purchase Indicator is a composite indicator designed to gauge overall conditions in the market. Figures for September 2016 are in and show a drop of 2.2% to 89.0 in September from 91.0 in August. Results point to higher expectations for fuel prices weighing heavily on the minds of consumers in September with the Price of Gasoline Expectations component spiking 3.4% to 124.8, indicating most consumers expect fuel costs to increase in the coming year.

The Car Purchase Expectations component (a gauge of whether consumers believe it is a good time or a bad time to buy a car), remained unchanged at 102.9 in September compared with 102.7 in August–pointing to consumers revising “up” their outlook for personal finances and the greater business environment, as seen in this survey’s parent publication – the Westpac MNI Consumer Sentiment Survey. “The relative stability in car purchase expectations, still above the neutral 100 level that separates optimists from pessimists, may suggest car sales will help underpin overall market sentiment in the near term,” MNI said in a statement.

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Meanwhile, results from the special quarterly question show Volkswagen remaining the preferred brand of choice in September, topping 25.3% of responses, slightly down from 26.6% in June. Japanese automaker Honda moved up to second place with a 12.2% share of responses after accounting for just 7.4% in June. The September survey also revealed that car safety remains a concern among Chinese consumers, while price took a backseat. Some 58.3% of respondents said that safety was the “main factor” they considered when buying a car and 12.8% indicated pricing was priority.

Photo Credit: China Daily

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