Good news for China's auto industry last month..

Some impressive numbers out for January auto production and sales in China, good news for an industry that has been and still faces challenges, including overcapacity and falling prices. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers , vehicle production jumped to 521,600 units, up 28.24% year-on-year, and sales reached 530,100 units, an impressive 44.62% growth. The real growth came in sales of passenger vehicles, which were up 72.63% to 418,900 units, including cars, sports utility vehicles, multi-purpose vehicles, and mini vans.

Those numbers compare with a slight downturn in January over December growth. Output and sales in January fell by 7.15% and 14.6% respectively, when compared to December. (It is not uncommon for December sales and production to be high—many companies try to get extra business in to meet yearly targets. On the other hand, some customers frontload purchases before the annual Chinese New Year festival which began at the end of January.) Output and sales of commercial vehicles, including trucks and busses, in contrast, fell in January—with 130,000 units produced and 111,100 units sold, down 12.76% and 10.27% respectively, year-on-year.

Also, interesting was the market beating growth (according to Xinhua) of the pure local brands, both of which have been capturing the world’s attention with their plans to sell overseas, including to Europe and the U.S. Anhui-based Chery, now free of the GM for alleged intellectual copyright violation, settled in November of last year, saw it’s sales in January grow 110.8% year-on-year to 22,505 units, and were up 96.13% with 20,282 units sold. For all of last year, sales of Chery were up a whopping 159% and for Geely, up 55%, according to Beijing-based auto consultancy Automotive Resources Asia Ltd.. That’s well above the passenger vehicle industry total, up 27%, with 3,117,500 units sold in 2005.

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