Car sales accelerated in January

Updated: 2013-02-06 10:24

By Li Fangfang (China Daily)

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Car sales accelerated in January

A 4S store in Haikou, capital of Hainan province. China's passenger vehicle sales increased by nearly 50 percent year-on-year in January, according to the China Passenger Car Association. [Photo/China Daily] 

The run-up to Spring Festival as well as China's economic rebound are expected to have boosted China's passenger vehicle sales in January by nearly 50 percent year-on-year, said the China Passenger Car Association.

The association said on its website that China's passenger vehicle sales to dealers in January would hit about 1.45 million units, more than 15 percent higher than in December.

The association will release detailed figures on Thursday.

Rao Da, secretary-general of the association, attributed the year-on-year sales surge mainly to an expected sales boom in the run-up to Spring Festival, which falls on Feb 10, compared to the holiday in the fourth week of January 2012.

"And this January has five more working days than last year, which also helped boost monthly sales," said Rao.

Cui Dongshu, deputy secretary-general of the association, said that annual bonuses being paid in January and a recovering economy had also helped drive sales.

"Taking the third week and fourth week as examples, China's passenger vehicle sales to dealers boomed 98 percent and 180 percent over last year, respectively," said Cui.

General Motors, the largest foreign automaker in China in terms of sales, said on Tuesday that it and its joint ventures sold more than 300,000 vehicles in a single month for the first time ever in January.

Sales totaled 310,765 units, an increase of 26 percent from the same month in 2012 and 15.9 percent above the previous all-time monthly high of 268,035 units in January 2011.

Domestic sales by its Chinese ventures Shanghai GM and SAIC-GM-Wuling, and their Buick, Chevrolet and Wuling brands all set single-month records in January.

Though hit seriously by anti-Japanese protests over the Diaoyu Islands that broke out in mid-September, Japanese automakers also reported a sales surge last month.

Toyota Motor Corp said that its January sales in China increased by 23.5 percent over last year to about 72,500 units, the first growth in seven months. However, that was still 8.9 percent lower than the sales in January 2011.

Nissan China reported a January sales jump of 22.2 percent, representing 115,700 units of vehicles delivered in the country, while Honda Motor Co also saw a 22.2 percent sales increase in the month, the first monthly growth since September.

Other than the foreign automakers, China's homegrown brands also benefited from the prosperous market, as most of them reported more than a 10 percent year-on-year sales jump in January, according to Rao.

Warren Buffett-backed BYD Co Ltd said that its sales in January reached 55,800 units, a surge of 85.2 percent from a year earlier.