Auto production and sales in China both surged more than 20 percent to a record 8.8 million units in 2007, despite slackening sales in global markets, an industry group said Sunday.
China's automakers rolled out 8.88 million motor vehicles last year, up 22.02 percent from a year earlier, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Total vehicle sales jumped 21.84 percent year-on-year to 8.79 million units in the world's second largest car market after the United States, twice the figure in 2003.
Both the output and sales beat the prediction of 8.5 million made at the beginning of last year.
Production of passenger vehicles - including sedans, sport utility vehicles and minivans - went up 21.94 percent to 6.38 million, while sales rose 21.68 percent to 6.3 million. Output of trucks and buses reached 2.5 million and sales 2.49 million.
Sales of sedans reached 4.73 million units, accounting for 53.76 percent of the total vehicle sales. About 1.24 million were indigenous models such as Xiali and Chery QQ.
FAW Volkswagen, the German auto giant's venture with FAW Group, sold 458,300 sedans last year. It overtook Shanghai General Motors, the Detroit-based automaker's venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., to become the top sedan seller for 2007.
Shanghai Volkswagen was the runner-up, posting sales of 445,800 sedans, followed by Shanghai GM with 432,000.
Last week, Volkswagen reported a sales record of more than 900,000 vehicles in China in 2007, up 28 percent, while GM said its sales in the country were up 19 percent to 1.03 million vehicles. A total of 479,427 vehicles were sold through Shanghai GM.
Dong Yang, vice chairman of the automobile association, told Xinhua that both China's auto output and sales would continue to expand at double-digit rates in 2008 to 10 million.
Currently, vehicle ownership in China was 44 for every 1,000 people, he said. This was compared with the world average of 120. The United States has 750 vehicles for every 1,000 people.
Dong said China's car market has huge potential as the economy continues to grow rapidly and the government tries to encourage people to spend money.
China had 57 million motor vehicles by the end of last year. Among them were only 15.2 million privately-owned cars, according to latest government figures.
(Xinhua News Agency January 14, 2008)