Fri, May 10, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Chinese automobile sales up despite weak economy

AFP, SHANGHAI

China’s auto sales surged 13.4 percent year-on-year last month, an industry group said yesterday, despite weakness in the world’s second-largest economy.

A total of 1.84 million vehicles were sold last month in China, the largest auto market in the world, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement.

“Auto production and sales showed steady growth in April and the overall market performance was relatively good,” the group said.

In the first four months of the year, vehicle sales reached 7.27 million units, up 13.2 percent year-on-year, the group said. Passenger car sales alone rose 16.2 percent from a year earlier to 5.86 million vehicles in the quarter, it said.

Last month alone, passenger car sales grew 13 percent year-on-year to 1.44 million vehicles, helped by strong demand for SUVs, it added.

China’s economic growth fell to 7.7 percent in the first quarter, slowing from 7.9 percent in the last three months of last year, fuellng fears its economic rebound is faltering.

China’s annual auto sales rose only 4.3 percent year-on-year to 19.31 million units last year, hit by limits on numbers imposed by some cities to ease traffic congestion and tackle pollution.

A territorial spat between Beijing and Tokyo that triggered anti-Japanese protests last year has hurt sales of Japanese vehicles, but other foreign brands have rushed to gain market share.

Sales of Japanese brand passenger cars dropped 12.9 percent year-on-year in the first four months, the industry group said yesterday.

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