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China's Auto Imports More Than Double In First Quarter

China imported 50,988 vehicles in the first quarter, up 105.5% from a year earlier, state media reported May 3, citing customs statistics.

The average price of the imported cars was almost US$40,000, indicating that China may be importing more high-end vehicles, Xinhua news agency said. The total value of imported vehicles for the first three months was $1.7 billion, up 109% from a year earlier.

Sedans accounted for 42.4% of the imported automobiles, with a total of 21,382 units, up 42.9% year-on-year. Imports of four-wheel drive cross-country vehicles reached 23,233 units, up 202%.

Citing officials with the Ministry of Commerce, Xinhua said the sharp surge in imports of sedans and cross-country vehicles was partly due to a lowering of tariffs early this year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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