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China considers policies to save auto market
By Shangguan Zhoudong (
Updated: 2008-11-17 16:53

The Chinese government is considering launching favorable policies, in an effort to tackle problems in the auto industry, a Chinese official said last week.

Speaking at the 2008 International Forum on Chinese Automotive Industry Development held in Tianjin between November 7 and 9, Chen Jianguo, an official from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planning body, said the NDRC has met high-level management from over 10 major automakers to discuss support policies.

"It is possible the government may announce policies" to help revive the industry, Chen said. “China's auto industry is facing severe challenges, and stock market and housing market boosting policies have been launched, but there are still no policies to save the auto industry," he added.

Chinese carmakers have been forced to slash prices, even as steel costs have risen, to compete among the 52 brands on sale, the most in any country.

SAIC Motor Corp, China's biggest automaker, had a 78 percent drop in third-quarter profit. Chongqing Chang'an Automobile Co, the Chinese partner of Ford Motor Co, had a third-quarter loss of 107 million yuan ($15.67 million), compared with a 68.4 million yuan profit a year earlier.

China's auto sales rose 11.11 percent in the first 10 months, compared with a more than 20 percent increase for the whole of last year.

The government is also urging automakers to take advantage of a reshuffle in the global automobile industry and speed up the development of vehicles using alternative energies, Chen said.

China's government will help automakers with technology and financial support to make progress in the area of electric cars, Chen added.

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