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China Becomes 2nd Largest Market for New Vehicles
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China overtook Japan to become the world's second largest market for new vehicles in 2006 next only to the United States, registering sales of 7.22 million units, up 25.13 percent year-on-year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers on Thursday.

The country's automakers last year produced 7.28 million vehicles, up 27.32 percent over the previous year.

Sales of passenger cars reached 5.18 million, up 30.02 percent, while production reached 5.23 million, up 32.76 percent.

Output of commercial vehicles rose 15.25 percent to 2.05 million in 2006, while sales reached 2.04 million, up 14.23 percent.

Statistics show rising auto sales were mainly driven by sales of passenger cars, excluding SUVs, MPVs, which grew 36.89 percent to 3.83 million units last year and contributed 71.4 percent to last year's auto sales increase of 1.4 million. The output of these cars grew 39.25 percent to 3.87 million.

The top 10 automakers produced about 83.9 percent of all auto sales, including Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC), First Automobile Works (FAW) and Dong Feng Motor Corp. (DFMC), which respectively sold 1.22 million, 1.17 million and 932,300 vehicles as the top three sellers.

Domestic automaker, Chery Automobile Co. Ltd. ranked seventh with sales of 302,500 vehicles.

Geely Group, another privately-owned company that develops and produces its own models, sold 204,400 vehicles in 2006, making it the 10th largest automaker in China.

New vehicle sales were three times higher than sales of used autos in China. In the United States, sales of used vehicles were two to three times higher than new ones.

(Xinhua News Agency January 12, 2007)

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