China's Auto Sales Fall 3.4% in Q1

In 2011 sales rose 2.5% compared to 32% in 2010.

As the world's largest auto market slows, vehicle sales in China fell 3.4 % year on year in the first three months of 2012, an industry group said on April 11.

Total vehicle sales for the three-month period reached 4.79 million units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said.

Sales for March rose just 1% to 1.84 million.

Nationwide sales rose just 2.5% to 18.51 million units in 2011, compared with an increase of more than 32% in 2010.

China's auto sales have slowed since last year after the government rolled back incentives and some cities imposed tough restrictions on car numbers to ease chronic traffic congestion and pollution.

March auto sales were also affected after China hiked fuel prices, including for petrol, by the biggest margin in nearly three years, the Shanghai Daily newspaper said on April 11. "The impact of higher fuel prices will extend to April and the following months," Rao Da, head of another industry group, the China Passenger Car Association, was quoted as saying.

But some foreign automakers in China saw strong improvement, helped by consumers favoring overseas brands and perceptions of higher quality.

General Motors ( IW 1000/13) sold 745,152 vehicles in China during the first three months of this year, a quarterly record for the company.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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