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Auto imports forecast to grow 20% in 2008
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China's imports of automobiles are likely to surpass 360,000 in 2008, up 20 percent year-on-year, the China Trading Center for Automobile Import (CTCAI) forecast in Beijing.


The center ascribed the robust growth to the country's stable economic growth, release of new auto models, and upgrading of automobile consumption in the domestic market.


A report released by the CTCAI showed that Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) would continue to be the most popular imported cars in the domestic market.


Official figures showed that from January to November in 2007, the number of imported SUVs rose 65 percent year on year to 126,659.


Japan, Germany, the Republic of Korea and the US were the major sources for China's imported cars. A total of 42 percent of sedans were imported from Germany and 48 percent of SUVs were imported from Japan.


Customs statistics showed that in the first 11 months in 2007, the number of imported vehicles stood at 277,093 units, up 37.6 percent.


Chinese auto sales are likely to hit or surpass 10 million units in 2008, Cai Weici, vice chairman of China Machinery Industry Federation (CMIF) forecast on Monday.


Official figures revealed that the country turned out 8.88 million automobiles in 2007, 22.02 percent more than the previous year, surpassing the eight million prediction made at the beginning of 2007.


Statistics showed that sedans of domestic brands had taken one fourth of the Chinese market.


(Xinhua News Agency January 23, 2008)


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