BEIJING -- General Motors and Ford Motor Co. posted lower second-quarter sales in China, albeit at a slower pace, as the U.S. automakers were hit by a slowing economy amid the Sino-U.S. trade war.
GM's vehicle sales in China for the quarter ended June 30 dropped 12 percent, while Ford's sales slumped by 22 percent. While GM also suffered from heightened competition in the key mid-priced crossover segment, Ford was hurt by limited new or redesigned models.
In the first quarter, Ford's sales in China tumbled 36 percent while GM's skid 18 percent.
Still, the numbers from GM, the second-biggest international automaker in China by sales, and Ford portend more uncertainty for the industry which is trying to rebound from a downward spiral that led to its first annual sales decline last year in more than two decades.
GM delivered 1.57 million vehicles in China in the January-June period this year, while Ford delivered 290,321 vehicles.
China's factory activity shrank more than expected in June, highlighting the need for more economic stimulus amid higher U.S. tariffs and weaker domestic demand.
Annual car sales in China fell last year for the first time since the 1990s, and they are expected to fall this year too. Sales tumbled 16 percent in May from the same month a year prior, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said. That marked the 11th consecutive month of decline and followed falls of 15 percent in April and 5.2 percent in March.
U.S. car companies' share of total China passenger vehicles sales fell to 9.6 percent in the first five months of this year from 11 percent in the year-ago period, according to CAAM. Over the same period, German carmakers' share has risen to 23 percent from 21 percent and Japanese automakers' to 21 percent from 17 percent.
CAAM is set to announce June sales next week, which industry analysts forecast will be negative.
In China, GM has a joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp., in which the Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac are made. It also has another venture, with SAIC and Guangxi Automobile Group, in which they make no-frills minivans and have started to make higher-end cars.
Sales of GM's affordable brand Baojun dropped 32 percent for the latest quarter. But luxury brand Cadillac's sales jumped 37 percent.
GM sold 3.64 million units in China last year, down from 4.04 units in 2017.
Ford makes cars in China through its joint venture with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. and Jiangling Motors Corp. It has said it would partner with Zotye Automobile Co. to sell lower priced cars.
The Dearborn, Mich., automaker has been struggling to revive sales in China, its second biggest market globally, after its business began slumping in late 2017. Sales sank 37 percent in 2018, after a 6 percent decline in 2017.
GM, Ford and rivals are launching new models or sprucing up older ones to attract customers. GM has laid out plans to introduce around 20 new models or variants of older ones this year.
"Around two-thirds of the about 20 new and refreshed models will arrive in the second half with a sharpened focus on luxury vehicles and mid-size to large SUVs," a GM spokeswoman told Reuters, adding that more than half of the new launches will be new models.
Ford has said it plans to localize its luxury brand Lincoln in China and would launch more than 30 new models in China over the next three years of which over a third will be electric vehicles.
It has launched new models such as Focus and Territory to boost volumes in China.