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China auto sales hit 5 month high in May

Sales rose 11.3% over a year earlier to 1.8 million vehicles.


BEIJING — China’s auto sales growth hit a five-month high in May, driven by the popularity of SUVs, an industry group said.

Sales rose 11.3% over a year earlier to 1.8 million vehicles, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, rose 9.8% to 2 million units.

The CAAM said SUV sales, whose explosive popularity has helped to buoy the industry, rose 36.3% to 627,000.

China’s auto sales growth cratered last year, jolting global brands that are looking to the world’s most populous market to drive revenue.

Sales revived after the government cut sales taxes, but longer-term growth is expected to moderate from the double-digit rates of recent years.

For the first five months of the year, auto sales rose 7.8% to 9.2 million units. SUV sales rose 45% to 3.2 million.

Sales by Chinese brands rose 12.9% to 716,900. They have been clawing back market share from bigger global rivals on the explosive popularity of low-cost SUVs, the fastest-growing market segment.

Sales by German brands rose 19.6% in May. Those by Japanese brands increased 17.7% and those of US brands by 11.2%.

General Motors Co. said sales of GM-brand vehicles by the company and its Chinese manufacturing partners rose 16.9% in May to 295,282. Sales in the first five months of the year gained 4.3% to a new record for the period of 1.5 million.

Ford Motor Co. showed a slight decline in May sales to 88,248 vehicles from the previous year’s 90,553. The company said year-to-date sales were up 5% at 479,542.

Nissan Motor Co. sales rose 3.4% to 106,100. For the first five months of the year, sales were up 1.3% at 500,900.

Toyota Motor Co. sales increased 11.2% to 102,900, while year-to-date sales were up 12% at 495,000.

BMW AG said sales of BMW- and Mini-brand vehicles rose 7.1% to 40,123.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016

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