China’s most high-profile and successful automaker worldwide, Geely, is forecasting flat sales for 2019, a sharp slowdown from last year as the country’s giant auto market is having a hard time with slowing economic growth and more cautious customers.
Geely Automobile Holdings, the main listed unit of the Geely empire which also owns Volvo Cars and Proton, posted a sales increase of 20 percent in 2018.
That was regardless of a slide in sales at a host of other automakers and forecasts that last year was the first in decades to see a drop in sales in China’s overall vehicle market.
The gloomy forecast for this year highlights how the year is likely to be difficult for all automakers, including General Motors and Great Wall Motor.
Geely stated in a filing that regardless of its growth last year, it had missed a sales target of 1.58 million cars by about 5 percent.
Its sales started to reduce in the last quarter of last year, with a 44 percent drop in December alone, as per monthly sales data filings.
Some other domestic and international companies have flagged a clear drop in demand in China at the end of last year, consisting of Apple Inc, which cut its global sales forecast because of Chinese weakness.
Geely’s chairman Li Shufu stated in a new year’s address that the year ahead was pivotal.
The industry body anticipates around 28 million vehicle sales in this year, roughly level with last year.