China’s domestic auto industry managed to sell more cars last month than US automakers for the first time ever, reports the Wall Street Journal. GM said 790,000 vehicles were sold there in January, eclipsing the 657,000 sold in the US. But, experts say, the economic slump may force consolidation in China as some of its dozens of auto manufacturers struggle.
Larger brands in China, like Chery and BYD, likely would benefit if some of the upstart producers were forced to close or merge. But experts say they expect sales, which grew as much as 20% a year during China’s boom economy, to slow dramatically. In December sales grew by 12%, and some experts say they expect no growth in 2009.