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February 14, 2017

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Chinese auto sales post decrease

CHINA’S auto market slowed in January, affected by holidays and reduced tax discounts, an industry group said yesterday.

Passenger car sales in the world’s biggest auto market fell 1.1 percent from a year earlier to 2.2 million, compared with December’s 9.1 percent expansion, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, rose 0.2 percent from a year earlier to 2.5 million.

China’s auto sales jumped 13.7 percent to a record high of 28.03 million last year after Beijing cut in half a 10 percent sales tax on small-engine vehicles. The government restored part of that reduction in January, raising the tax from 5 percent to 7.5 percent.

Demand for sport-utility vehicles helped offset weakness in sedan sales.

SUV sales rose 10.5 percent in January to 881,000, while sedan sales shrank 3 percent to 1.1 million, according to CAAM. Sales of lower-priced Chinese-brand SUVs rose 15.2 percent to 543,000.

China’s trade figures can be distorted by the Chinese New Year holiday, which falls at different times in January and February each year. This year, the holiday began on January 27, depressing retail activity in January, while last year’s break didn’t begin until February 7.

“January was an unusual month with the earlier timing of the Chinese New Year holiday and the impact of the reduced tax incentive,” Peter Fleet, Ford Motor Co’s vice president for sales, said in a statement last week.

Ford said its sales declined 32 percent to 88,432 vehicles.

General Motors Co reported earlier that January sales of GM-brand vehicles by the company and its Chinese partners fell 24 percent to 321,264. It blamed the Chinese New Year sales lull.

BMW AG, Europe’s biggest luxury brand, said sales of BMW and Mini-brand vehicles increased 18.2 percent to 51,345, exceeding 50,000 for the first time.

Nissan Motor Co, the most popular Japanese brand in China, said sales declined 6.2 percent from a year earlier to 119,411 vehicles.

Toyota Motor Co said its sales advanced 8.1 percent to 101,800.


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