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China's car sales grow 33% in September
Updated: 2005-10-21 09:26

China's passenger vehicle sales jumped 33 percent in September over a year earlier, as price cuts helped spur demand, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported.

But the 354,000 units of passenger vehicles sold lagged behind production, which totaled 358,200 units, according to data seen Thursday on the industry group's Web site.

After lagging earlier in the year, sales have rebounded in most vehicle categories, with purchases of passenger cars up 36 percent against September 2004 at 254,500 units, it said. Sales of multipurpose vehicles, such as minivans, jumped 89 percent to 13,800 units and sales of sport utility vehicles rose 56 percent to 20,700, it said.

Detailed sales figures for other types were not given.

Passenger vehicle sales rose 16.8 percent in the first three quarters of this year, compared with the same period a year earlier, to 2.8 million units, the report said.

Buyers are tending to opt for smaller cars due to higher gasoline prices.

Nissan Motor Co.'s Tiida, a new subcompact which sells as the Versa in other markets, was the best-selling model in September, at 13,700 units, just ahead of South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co.'s Elantra 1.6, which sold 13,300 units, the figures showed.

Chery Automobile Co. sold 11,100 of its QQ minicar, with Shanghai Volkswagen selling 10,700 Santana sedans and General Motor Corp. selling 10,400 Excelles, the report said.

In the year to date, the Xiali, a compact made by Tianjin FAW Xiali, was the best seller, with sales totaling 133,800. The Elantra was a close second at 131,200 followed by the Excelle, with sales totaling 105,000, and Santana - once the market leader - at 100,300, it said.

Automakers are operating under heavy pressure to cut costs and offer discounts amid increasingly intense competition, cutbacks in government spending and tightening restrictions on bank loans for auto purchases.

VW has seen its market share drop to 18 percent from over 50 percent in the 1990s. Hoping to regain lost ground, earlier this week the company announced plans to introduce up to 12 new models in China by 2009 while cutting costs and improving service.

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