China January Auto Sales Up 6 to Record High

China January Auto Sales Up 6% to Record High

Sales of cars alone gained 7% from a year earlier to 1.85 million units, helped by solid demand for multi-purpose vehicles and sport-utility vehicles.

SHANGHAI - China's auto sales rose 6% year-on-year in January to a record high for any month thanks to strong car sales before the Chinese New Year holiday, an industry group said Thursday.

A total of 2.16 million vehicles were sold in the world's largest car market last month, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said in a statement.

"The domestic auto industry had a good start in January, with sales hitting a new record," CAAM said.

Sales of cars alone gained 7% from a year earlier to 1.85 million units, helped by solid demand for multi-purpose vehicles and sport-utility vehicles, the group said.

Analysts say seasonal demand before the Chinese New Year, which fell on Jan. 31 this year, boosted sales.

Auto sales surged 13.9% to 21.98 million vehicles last year, CAAM has said, as a recovery in Japanese brands offset the impact of slowing economic growth.

While auto markets elsewhere in the world have been sluggish, China has proved to be an important market for foreign brands.

Ford (IW 500/8) said Wednesday that its January sales in China surged 53% year-over-year to 94,466 vehicles.

Competitor General Motors (IW 500/5) said Tuesday its China sales hit an all-time high of 348,061 units in January, an increase of 12% from a year earlier.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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