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Auto Output, Sales Remain Lively on High Demand
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Strong demand for passenger vehicles boosted vehicle output and sales in China, which both continued to grow briskly in February from a year ago, an industry association said on Monday.

The nation's vehicle sales reached 528,100 units last month, up 58.71 percent from February in 2005, according to statistics from China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Sales of made-in-China automobiles jumped by 50.66 percent year-on-year to 480,000 units last month.

Output and sales of passenger vehicles cars, sport utility vehicles, multi-purpose vehicles and mini vans grew much faster last month from a year earlier due to manufacturers' new product offensives and price incentives of old products.

"Carmakers have been launching new products and cutting prices of old models this year to attract customers, which has helped boost sales," said Zhu Yiping, the spokeswoman of the auto association.

Passenger vehicle output skyrocketed by 75.45 percent to 377,700 units last month with sales climbing by 61.46 percent to 344,500 units, statistics show.

Meanwhile, output and sales of commercial vehicles, which include trucks and buses, also experienced lively growth from a year ago.

Commercial vehicle output stood at 150,400 units last month, up 28.03 percent. The February sales of commercial vehicles rose by 28.76 percent to 135,500 units.

The auto association said the total vehicle output in February edged up by only 0.93 percent when compared with the previous month. However, the February sales tumbled by 9.69 percent from a strong January this year.

Accumulated vehicle output and sales during the first two months of this year totalled 1.05 million and 1.01 million units respectively, jumping 42.28 percent and 47.75 percent from the same period last year, according to statistics.

Passenger vehicle output and sales surged by 62.73 percent and 67.61 percent to 769,400 units and 763,600 units from January to February this year.

Over the past three weeks, prices dropped for dozens of models, such as Volkswagen Bora, Golf and Polo, Hyundai Elantra and Sonata, Ford Mondeo and Chevrolet Aveo.

Many new products have been discounted in China this year, including the Peugeot 206, new Mazda3 and Buick LaCrosse.

Zhu said that the robust growth in the first two months this year was partially due to weak performances in the same period last year.

Combined sales of China's top five automakers Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp, First Automotive Works Corp, Dongfeng Motor Corp, Chang'an Motor Corp and Beijing Automotive Industry Corp amounted to 676,400 vehicles from January to February this year.

(China Daily March 15, 2006)

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