Saturday, February 14, 2009

China-made passenger car sales up, market still dim

The sales of China-made passenger car in January picked up from the previous month in China, buoyed by government policies to boost the auto industry, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) on Tuesday.

Sales of China-made passenger cars climbed 4.44 percent to 610,600 units from a month earlier. However, the figure was still down 7.76 percent year-on-year.

Zhu Yiping, associate secretary in general with the CAAM, said government stimulus policies for auto industry helped lift sales of China-made passenger cars.

Cars with engine displacement below 1.6 liters stood out, with a month-on-month rise in both output and sales because of the tax incentives, he said. Specific figures were not available.

January saw output of China-made autos at 658,800 units, up 5.07 percent from the previous month and down 20.22 percent from the same month a year earlier. Sales stood at 735,500 units, down 0.83 percent month on month and down 14.35 percent year on year.

The month-on-month decline was mainly attributed to the slump in commercial car sales, the association said.

January output of commercial vehicles dropped 4.4 percent from December 2008 to 132,000 units. A total of 125,100 units were sold, down 20.35 percent. The two figures dived sharply by 39.10 percent and 36.46 percent from a year ago.

Zhu said the rise in passenger car sales failed to revive the auto industry as the economy at large saw no signs of obvious recovery.

On January 14, China announced its plan to lower the purchase tax on cars with engines under 1.6 liters from 10 percent to 5 percent from January 20 to December 31 in a bid to spur domestic auto industry.

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