Chinese drivers are jammed in traffic on Christmas Eve ChinaFotoPress, Getty Images

Chinese drivers are jammed in traffic on Christmas Eve. Auto sales have dropped in the country — by far the world's largest car market — for each of the last four months, including 7% for July.

Chinese Auto Sales Drop for July

Overall auto sales remain healthy, reaching 23.49 million vehicles last year, up 6.9% from 2013 but falling short of industry annual growth targets of 8.3%.

BEIJING — China’s auto sales fell in July for the fourth straight month, an industry group said Tuesday, as economic growth slows in the world’s largest car market.

Vehicle sales in the country totaled 1.50 million units last month, down 7.0% from 1.62 million a year earlier, according to figures provided by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

It was the fourth consecutive month in which sales had decreased and the fall was the sharpest of the period, CAAM data showed, accelerating from a 2.31% drop in June. Production fell to 1.52 million units from 1.72 million a year earlier, plunging more than 11.0% year-on-year, according to CAAM.

Economic growth hit a 24-year low last year, expanding 7.4% amid a steady slowdown from years of double-digit expansions. Growth in gross domestic product has decelerated further this year, expanding 7.0% in each of the first two quarters.

Car plate restrictions, used in some major cities to ease traffic gridlock, and stock market volatility have also hit demand this year.

The Shanghai stock index plunged more than 30.0% over three weeks from a June 12 peak before rebounding on aggressive government support measures.

China’s overall auto sales reached 23.49 million vehicles last year, jumping 6.9% from 2013 but falling short of CAAM’s growth target of 8.3% for the year.

CAAM in July lowered its estimate for this year’s increase to “around 3.0%” from the previous 7.0%, after sales in the January-June period gained just 1.43% year-on-year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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