China's booming sedan sale hit a record high of 890,000 units in the first quarter, about one third of the total sale in 2005, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said in Beijing on Friday.
Jetta, manufactured by Faw Volkswagen, ranked the top in the first quarter with a total sale of 17,500, an increase of 79.57 percent year-on-year. Elantra of Beijing Hyundai followed with a sale of 14,000, up 21.7 percent over last month.
The home-brand Chery also saw a rise of its major models in March, due to its price cuts of auto parts last month. The sale of QQ, one of its flagship autos, hit 11,700 in March.
In the sector of medium and top grade sedans, Lingyu, a new series of Passat of Shanghai Volkswagen, the joint venture of Germany's Volkswagen in China General Motors, topped with a sale of 10,600, followed by Hongda of Guangzhou Honda Automobile Corporation and Corolla of Faw Toyota Motor.
Experts said that the sedan sale is expected to moderate in the second quarter due to the rise of oil price.
China's growing middle class is expected to make the mainland the world's third largest automobile market by 2008, surpassing France and Germany. The association also released the sale information of sport-utility vehicles and multi-purpose vehicles last month, which witnessed a cheering rise compared with that of February.
The association attributed the rising sale of SUV and MPV to China's new tax on luxury cars, taking effect on April 1, as well as the anticipative climbing prices of luxury cars.
China has taken various measures to prompt the development of environment-friendly cars nationwide, including new tax on luxury cars and the release of restrictions on cars with low emissions in some large cities.
(Xinhua News Agency April 8, 2006)