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Automobile sales continue to blossom in July
Date:2010/8/11      View:1171
Automobile sales rose at their slowest pace in 16 months in July as the world's largest auto market cooled after an explosive growth in 2009.

The country's passenger car sales in July rose 13.6 percent from a year earlier to 946,200 units, compared with 19 percent growth in June, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said on Monday. The number is a far cry from the 70 percent-plus growth rate seen in the same period last year.

Total vehicle sales rose 14.4 percent year-on-year to 1.24 million units in July, the first time this year that the growth rate was below 20 percent, according to the association.

Industry analysts attributed the slowing sales to last year's extraordinary surge and the traditional summer sales doldrums.

"The slowing momentum is within our expectations as the market can't always sustain such a high rate of growth seen last year. The traditional summer sales doldrums are also to blame," said Feng Chong, a Beijing-based auto analyst at Bohai Securities.

"In fact, the slowing signs emerged in April as many of the car dealers saw inventories start to rise., Feng said.

SAIC Motor Corp, China's largest carmaker said sales rose 24 percent to 278,947 vehicles, the lowest increase since the automaker started publicly releasing its numbers in October 2009.

General Motors Co, the largest foreign automaker in China, reported a 22 percent increase in its local sales in July, down from 23 percent in June.

China overtook the United States as the world's No 1 automobile market in 2009, supported by government stimulus policies including tax cuts for smaller cars and subsidies to vehicle buyers in rural areas.

Although the slowing sales growth has become a certainty, analysts remain upbeat about the Chinese auto industry from the long-term prospective.

"Sales would hit the bottom in the third quarter and then the market is likely to see a rebound in the fourth quarter," Feng said.

The Chinese automobile market will continue to see robust growth, as there is an increasing demand for smaller-sized fuel-efficient cars and the huge untapped potential in smaller cities, he said.

Full-year vehicle sales are expected to exceed 15 million units this year, compared with more than 13.64 million units in 2009, which confirmed the country's status as the world's biggest car market.

Industry experts predicted that the demand for passenger vehicles in China will reach 25 million units in 2020 and 35 million units in 2030.
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