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China's auto sales grow for 4th month in Sept.

All Headlines 11:58 October 17, 2011

By Kim Young-gyo

HONG KONG, Oct. 17 (Yonhap) -- China's automobile sales grew on-year for the fourth straight month in September as automakers revved up efforts to counter slowing demand in the world's No. 1 car market, a trade group said Monday.

Vehicle sales in China increased 5.5 percent to 1.65 million units last month from a year earlier, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said. The figure was up 19.19 percent from the previous month.

From January to September, Chinese auto sales exceeded 13.63 million units, a rise of 3.62 percent from a year earlier.

Passenger car sales climbed 8.8 percent on-year to about 1.32 million units last month. In the first nine months, a total of 10.5 million units of passenger cars were sold, up 6.4 percent from a year earlier.

The industry group attributed the steady growth largely to automakers' efforts to reduce their inventories after the government ended incentive programs and imposed new limits on car purchases starting in January.

Domestic and global carmakers started to see slower growth this year in China as the government ended tax breaks for purchases of small cars at the end of 2010 and imposed a higher tax at the beginning of this year.

The tax breaks, introduced in 2009 to buoy domestic demand amid the economic slowdown, boosted China's auto market and helped it overtake the United States as the world's largest in 2009 and 2010.

China's auto sales surged more than 32 percent on-year to hit 18.06 million vehicles last year.

The CAAM said it has lowered its forecast for the growth rate of China's auto market in 2011 to 3-5 percent from 10-15 percent, citing weaker demand in the country after Beijing started to tighten regulations on car purchases.

ygkim@yna.co.kr
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