China's auto market bounces back in August

By Li Fangfang (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-09-08 07:29
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Promotions, green subsidies spur sales of fuel-efficient vehicles

BEIJING - China's automobile market rebounded in August with "unexpected" sales numbers, ending the continuous decline of the past four months, thanks to manufacturers' promotions and green subsidies spurring the sales of fuel-efficient vehicles, said officials and analysts.

Sales of cars, sport-utility vehicles, multipurpose vehicles and minivans reached 1.01 million units in August, up 18.5 percent over last year, and increased 9 percent from the previous month, China Passenger Car Association said on Tuesday.

The total sales of China's automobile industry reached 1.2 million units last month, up 55.72 percent year-on-year. This compared to the monthly sales of 997,574 units in the United States, a decline of 21 percent from a year earlier, the lowest August figure for the past 27 years.

"The brisk domestic sales numbers beat our expectations, indicating that China's automobile market is back on the way up and will continue to enjoy healthy growth till the first half of next year," said Rao Da, secretary-general of the association. "We expect sales in September to grow 4.7 percent from August, as more buyers drop their wait-and-see stance."

China's auto market bounces back in August

He said government subsidies for energy-efficient vehicles attracted consumers back to car showrooms.

"Automakers and dealers' summer promotions also helped drive market demand," said Chu Yanhui, an auto analyst with AJ Securities.

Chu predicted that full-year sales will hit 16.5 to 17 million units as the market continues to enjoy robust growth in the coming months.

Hongyuan Securities said in a recent report that China's auto market has pulled out of the recent period of stagnation. However, it warned investors that car prices will decline, impacting on China's macro economy.

General Motors, the biggest overseas automaker in China, reported a 19.2 percent year-on-year sales surge in August to 181,625 units, taking GM's sales in China for the first eight months of 2010 to 1,567,411 units.

Sales of its luxury brand Cadillac were up 177.6 percent in August compared with the same month last year to 1,624 units.

"Chinese consumers' enthusiasm for luxury goods boosted luxury car sales in China this year," said Rao.

China imported 460,000 vehicles in the first seven months, up 152 percent year-on-year, exceeding the total imports for last year, he said.

Rao predicted that the imported segment would report sales of 700,000 units by the end of this year, up 70 percent. "And imported vehicle sales will reach 1 million next year."

German luxury brand Audi sold 22,350 vehicles in China, its largest market, in August, bringing the total figure for the first eight months to nearly 152,800 units, up 63 percent.

Its rival Mercedes-Benz said last Friday that its August sales in China more than doubled to 13,400 units, bringing the year-to-date total to 88,500, up 129 percent.

China Daily

China's auto market bounces back in August