Merge & acquire

Merger and acquisition

Mergers and acquisitions might become normal in China's Passenger Vehicle market as Chery Automobile sells controlling stake

Alan Kang, Senior Market Analyst

12 June 2018

Automotive Forecasting - Mergers and acquisitions

Merger and acquisition might become normal in China PV market

In order to generate cash to relaunch itself in the increasingly competitive China Personal Vehicle market, Chery Automobile has decided to sell a controlling stake for approximately 20 billion RMB ($3.1 billion). This follows the decision, in December 2017, to sell 25% of its stake in Qoros to Baoneng Group.

Chery was once the number one local brand in the China market, a position it held for a number of years until 2012. However, it began to fall back in 2013 and its sales ranking among local Chinese brands has now dropped to 11thplace, in April 2018, year to date. Chaotic product planning over the past few years resulted in a loss of competitiveness in the market and, while there is a clearer product strategy now, it will take time to recover lost ground. It is this loss of market position, and volume, which has led to the current cash-starved position and making investments necessary to return to former glories now clearly needs external financing.

“we may see more merger and acquisition activity as the situation intensifies”

Chery is not alone in facing difficulties in China’s fiercely competitive market. Beijing Automotive had to sell one of its vehicle plants to Mercedes-Benz in May in order to solve a persistent overcapacity problem. Its sub-brand, Senova, has also lost momentum in recent years and there is a risk it may be discontinued.

Such is the ferocity of competition in China that, with a uniquely large number of brands even for a market of huge size, we may see more merger and acquisition activity as the situation intensifies. As growth begins to slow in a maturing stage of development, a zero-sum market may no longer be able to support more than 100 brands.