Cars for export wait to be loaded onto cargo vessels at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, October 14, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]
BEIJING - China's auto market will likely bottom out this year and next, after posting negative sales growth for two consecutive years, a senior official said Monday.
Both car sales and production are likely to reach around 25 million units this year, with a zero or slightly negative growth rate, Miao Wei, minister of industry and information technology, said at a press conference.
China's auto sector is faced with chronic problems such as a lack of research input and key technologies, as well as some short-term impacts from cuts in new energy vehicle subsidies and stricter emission standards for traditional petrol-powered cars, Miao said.
However, he also noted that the market confidence has picked up as auto production posted positive year-on-year growth in November after pro-consumption policies took effect.
China will continue to push for high-quality development in the auto sector, stimulate market vitality, encourage auto producers to explore overseas markets and give a level playing field to all Chinese and foreign-invested companies.
About 25.77 million automobiles were sold in 2019 in the world's biggest auto market, a year-on-year decrease of 8.2 percent, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
The drop widened from the 2.8-percent fall in 2018 as trade tensions, tighter emission standards and retreating subsidies for new-energy vehicles combined to weigh on the industry.