China Auto Sales Rise 12% in March on Surging SUV Sales

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Passenger-vehicle sales in China gained 12 percent last month, led by demand for sport utility vehicles and minivans in the world’s largest auto market.

Retail deliveries of cars, multipurpose and SUVs climbed to 1.78 million units in March, the China Passenger Car Association said on its website today. SUV sales surged 64 percent in March and minivan deliveries jumped 26 percent, while sedan demand fell 0.6 percent, according to the data.

“Auto sales have been driven by replacement demand or families buying a second vehicle, so SUVs are a natural choice as they seek something different,” said Yale Zhang, Shanghai-based managing director of Autoforesight Shanghai Co. “Local automakers have also launched many SUV products in recent years.”

Automakers from Ford Motor Co. to Daimler AG have opened new plants in China this year, lured by millions of first-time buyers and replacement demand. A Chinese manufacturing gauge rebounded in March after the central bank cut interest rates twice in the last six months to bolster growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

Great Wall Motor Co., China’s biggest sport-utility vehicle maker, posted a 19 percent surge in deliveries last month. The automaker has said it will resume selling its most expensive SUV, the H8 model, in April.

— With assistance by Tian Ying, and Alexandra Ho

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