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China car sales up

Published:Sunday | February 7, 2010 | 12:00 AM


China's passenger car sales rose 84 per cent in January from a year earlier as buyers took advantage of tax breaks and other incentives ahead of the Chinese New Year, a research group said Friday.

Passenger car sales totaled 1.22 million units for the month, the Shanghai-based China Passenger Car Association reported, citing data from automakers. Sales rose 5 per cent from 1.16 million units in December, it said.

Official data on total vehicle sales for January are due next week.

China's total vehicle sales soared 45 per cent last year to an estimated 13.6 million, overtaking the United States as the world's biggest auto market. Most analysts expect growth to exceed 10 per cent this year, but to fall short of last year's stunning recovery.

Rao Da, who heads the private research group, said he expects roughly 20 per cent growth in total vehicle sales this year.

A large share of sales are small passenger cars and minivans used by farming families and small businesses - the focus of tax cuts and other policies aimed at spurring sales of fuel-efficient vehicles.