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China's car sales grow slowly
Date:2011/3/11      View:1106
China's passenger car sales grew at the slowest pace for more than two years in February, probably affected by the suspension of favorable policies, but a senior official of an auto association expressed confidence in the industry's growth.

Sales of cars, sport-utility vehicles and multi-purpose vehicles tumbled 36.74 percent from January to 967,200 units last month, said the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers yesterday.

On an annual basis, sales rose 2.6 percent in February.

Most car makers reported a sales decline on a monthly basis in February after the central government suspended tax breaks on small vehicles and the Beijing city government restricted license registration to minimize traffic problems.

Xiong Chuanlin, vice secretary-general of CAAM, attributed the slower sales to the Spring Festival in February, a traditionally slow period, as well as fewer days in the month.

"Though government policies favoring car buying have expired, we are still optimistic about the industry's growth this year, which will be more healthy and rational," Xiong said.

Ford Motor Corp sold 31,934 vehicles in February in China, down from 53,340 units in January. Japan's Mazda Motor Corp said it plans to offer more discounts this month after an annual 29 percent sales drop in February.

General Motors, China's largest foreign auto maker, boosted sales by 6 percent to 184,498 vehicles last month. Its sales surged 22 percent in January.

Overall auto sales in China fell 33 percent to 1.26 million units in February from a month earlier while output shed 30 percent to 1.26 million units.

CAAM earlier forecast sales in 2011 would grow 10 to 15 percent after they surged more than 30 percent last year to more than 18 million units.

Dealers said auto prices may drop further as car makers offer discounts to draw consumers back.

In January, BYD cut prices on five models by up to 20 percent after a sales tumble.
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