December sales were down year over year by 13%. They dropped 13.9% in November, 11.7% in October, and 11.6% in September 2018.
South Korean Hyundai and affiliated Kia together were the third largest selling car brands in China in 2016. But sales were so low in 2018 that the companies’ joint ventures used only half their manufacturing capacity. Hyundai’s sales in China dropped by 23% in the fourth quarter of 2018, leaving annual sales flat compared to 2017.
Japanese maker Suzuki, known for small vehicles, left China in September 2018 as consumers favored bigger models. The company had left the U.S. in 2012.
Nissan has planned production cuts of 30,000 units between December 2018 and February 2019. The reductions included some of the company’s most popular models in the country. China has been Nissan’s second largest market and accounted for a quarter of its sales.
Trade wars with the U.S. and slowing economic growth have taken their toll. China’s economic growth is at its slowest rate since 1990.
Other industries have been feeling the pinch as well. Apple revised earnings guidance downward early in January in significant part because of weak sales in China.