Auto sales blossom in April

08:56, May 11, 2010      

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April passenger vehicle sales grew 33 percent over last year, the lowest rate during the past 12 months, indicating that China's booming automobile market has returned to healthy and rational development.

China sold 1,064,545 cars, multi-purpose vehicles, sports-utility vehicles and minivans in April, up 32.7 percent from a year earlier, however, down 7.3 percent from March, said China Passenger Car Association on Monday.

This compares to a 63 percent year-on-year growth rate in March and 111 percent in January.

However, China's passenger vehicle sales in the first four months reported brisk growth of 52 percent over a year earlier.

Total automobile sales growth also slowed to 34 percent in April, with 1.56 million vehicles sold, but still much higher than the US figures.

In the US, auto sales continued to recover in April, up 20 percent over a year earlier to 982,302 units, with most major automakers posting double-digit gains, according to AutoData Corp.

Japanese automaker Toyota also reported 24 percent growth as it launched massive incentives to offset recall costs.

Rao Da, secretary-general of the China Passenger Car Association, said that the sales decrease was expected, denying rumors that China's vehicle market is at a turning point.

"China's passenger vehicle market is still developing steadily," said Rao, who insisted that more than 17 million automobiles will be sold nationwide this year - almost 25 percent more than last year.

Although sales in May will probably continue to decrease from April figures, "this represents that China's automobile market is back in gear after being in overdrive last year", he said.

In 2009, automobile sales surged 46 percent to 13.6 million units helped by a series of government stimulus measures, helping China overtake the United States to be the world's biggest auto market.

Moreover, Rao said that it was still early to calculate the impact of sluggish stock and property markets on vehicle sales before next month.

As domestic vehicle production continued to grow faster than sales in April, Su Hui, an auto analyst with China Automobile Dealers Association, warned the industry to pay close attention to high vehicle inventory levels.

According to statistics released by the association on Monday, in the first four months China produced 4.57 million passenger vehicles, 257,000 units more than sold in the same period.

"The high inventory and weakening consumption enthusiasm amid increasing car usage costs make it difficult to have an optimistic expectation for China's vehicle sales in the second half," said Su. "It will put great pressure on vehicle sales in the coming months."

Source: China Daily

(Editor:黄硕)

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