China's new-vehicle market has contracted for the 15th straight month, with sales declining 5.2 percent from a year earlier to 2.27 million in September, as the nation’s weakening economy continues to weigh on light vehicle demand.
The unexpected, extended downturn in China’s new-vehicle market poses grave threats to the survival of many small domestic brands. It has also sent General Motors to the aid of a key volume brand it created nine years ago under a light-vehicle joint venture.
Under an agreement with Autoliv, one of the world’s top airbag and seatbelt makers, the two companies will establish a North America road safety research lab in the north China city of Baoding. The announcement by Great Wall, China’s largest light-truck maker, signals another step into a key market.