Automotive Honda

Published on May 20th, 2024 | by Sounder Rajen


China Domestic Car Sales Slow Down Even With Popular Brands, Why?

It looks like even the buying power in China is dwindling

As Honda Motor faces declining car sales in China, the world’s largest auto market, the Japanese automaker is making significant adjustments to its workforce to adapt to the challenging environment. The company has initiated a downsizing of its full-time production workforce in response to the slump in demand.

Honda City Hatchback RS e:HEV front

Approximately 1,700 employees have voluntarily agreed to leave, following a plan announced earlier this month by GAC Honda Automobile, a joint venture between Honda and Guangzhou Automobile Group. This substantial leave reflects the ongoing difficulties Japanese automakers face in China amid a fierce price war and consumer preferences shifting to PHEVs and EVs

Moreover, the voluntary retirements represent 14 percent of the production workforce in the GAC Honda venture. However, the company is still in the process of finalising the exact number of employees who will be allowed to leave under this program. This strategic move is aimed at reducing operational costs and aligning the workforce size with current market realities.

Honda’s challenges are part of a broader industry trend of declining passenger vehicle sales in China. The decline was notably evident in April, with a 5.8 percent drop compared to the same period last year. This decrease underscores the cautious spending behaviour of consumers amidst an uncertain economic recovery. 

The economic climate has been less than favourable, with factors such as global supply chain disruptions, rising raw material costs, and fluctuating consumer confidence all playing a role. Honda operates four factories in China through its longstanding partnership with Guangzhou Automobile Group, which dates back to the late 1990s. 


On top of that, Honda has three more factories through a separate joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Corporation established in 2004. Despite these extensive operations, Honda, like many other foreign automakers, is grappling with the competitive pressures from Chinese manufacturers who are rapidly advancing in the EV market.

Chinese automakers have been more agile in responding to the rising demand for EVs, often offering more affordable and technologically advanced options. This has placed traditional automakers like Honda at a disadvantage, compelling them to rethink their strategies in the region.

In short, this move highlights the significant shifts occurring in the automotive industry, especially in markets as pivotal as China, where consumer preferences and competitive dynamics are rapidly evolving. It seems like the entire auto industry is on the cusp of its biggest shift yet.

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