China passenger vehicle sales soared to a monthly high in
January, with the worst winter storms in half a century failing to
dampen the country's increasing love for cars, an industry group
Chinese car makers sold 639,000 passenger vehicles last month,
up 32 percent from the same period in 2006 and 6.7 percent up from
December, according to the China Passenger Car Association.
January sales exceeded those in the previous month for the first
time in recent years, despite coming at a time when dealers usually
try various measures to reduce stock in hope of bumping up sales
figures before the year end, it said.
Sedans accounted for three-quarters of the January figure, while
sport utility vehicles (SUV) sales jumped 60.5 percent year on year
to 32,000 units, nearly twice as fast as the industry average.
Passenger vehicle production was up 14.5 percent year on year to
566,000 units. This included 423,000 sedans, 35,000 SUVs and 14,500
Sales in February, which only has 18 workdays due to the Spring
Festival holiday, were likely to be as high as 400,000 units
because the freak winter weather had delayed some January
deliveries, the association said.
Vehicle production and sales in the country both surged more
than 20 percent to a record 8.8 million units last year, in
contrast to weakening sales worldwide.
In total, China, the world's second largest car market, produced
6.38 million passenger vehicles and sold 6.3 million units last
The association forecasts imported passenger vehicle sales would
continue to outpace those of locally-made units this year.
Demand for imported high-end cars would remain strong as they
only had a few local rivals. In addition, domestic oil prices were
rather low and the country has a growing rank of nouveau riche, it
The market for indigenous low-emission cars was weakening
domestically, while 81 percent of imported SUVs and 70 percent of
imported sedans had engines larger than 2.5 liters last year, both
up 20 percentage points from a year earlier.
(Xinhua News Agency February 15, 2008)