Chinese auto sales are likely to hit or surpass 8.7 million units in 2007, 20 percent more than the previous year, Zhu Yiping, a China Association of Automobile Manufacturers official, said Friday.
Last year, more than 7.2 million autos were sold in the country, surpassing Japan and trailing only the United States.
Battered by rocketing oil prices and economic recession, depression loomed over the European, American and Japanese auto markets. In the first three quarters, the European auto market only saw a modest 0.7 percent annual growth while Japan dropped back to the level of 30 years ago.
Experts ascribed the robust growth to increasing market demand, as a recent survey by the State Information Center revealed more than 10 million Chinese households wanted to buy private cars soon. This was boosted by rising incomes and falling car prices.
Association statistics revealed domestic manufacturers had released nearly 90 new vehicle models onto the market this year.