China Auto Sales Climb at Fastest Pace in Nine Months
China’s passenger-vehicle sales last month climbed the most since January, helped by a recovery in economic growth and rebound in demand for Japanese brands.
Wholesale deliveries of cars, multipurpose and sport utility vehicles rose 24 percent to 1.61 million units in October, according to the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers today. That compares with the median estimate of 1.5 million units by three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.
The fastest pace of auto sales in nine months adds to signs that China’s economy is gaining momentum going into the final quarter, with official statistics released last week showing industrial production and customs data rose more than forecast while manufacturing investment strengthened. Vehicle demand for Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and Honda Motor Co. (7267) surged last month as anti-Japanese sentiment over a territorial dispute abated.
“The recovery of demand for Japanese-brand cars is spurring overall vehicle sales,” said Harry Chen, an analyst with Guotai Junan Securities Co. in Shenzhen. “It’ll take the Japanese automakers more time to gain back market share.”
Total sales of vehicles, including buses and trucks, rose 20 percent to 1.93 million units last month, the association said. In the first 10 months of the year, 17.8 million vehicles were delivered, with 14.5 million being automobiles.
Commercial vehicles sales increased 7.4 percent in the first 10 months of the year to 3.36 million units.
China’s industrial output growth unexpectedly accelerated and inflation stayed below a government target last month, adding to a picture of an economy that is gaining strength. Production rose 10.3 percent from a year earlier, while inflation was 3.2 percent and producer prices fell 1.5 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said Nov. 9.
Sales of SUVs jumped 73 percent to 284,200 units last month, while deliveries of multipurpose vehicles more than tripled to 135,300 units. Sedan deliveries gained 17 percent to 1.06 million vehicles.
Ford Motor Co. (F)’s Focus was the best-selling sedan last month, with Great Wall Motor Co.’s Haval line remaining the nation’s top-selling SUV.
Toyota’s sales in the country rose 81 percent to 82,400 units, while Honda more than tripled its sales to 75,150.
Nationwide demonstrations erupted in China last year over Japan’s purchase of a group of disputed islands, sparking a consumer backlash against Japanese auto brands.
General Motors Co. (GM), the largest foreign automaker in China, reported a 12 percent gain in October sales to 282,446 units, led by demand for its Wuling and Buick vehicles.
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