|A driver waits in Yayuncun Automobile Market, the largest in Beijing, on Tuesday. [Photo/China Daily]|
BEIJING - China's passenger vehicle sales surged to a record high in November.
More than 1,280,000 cars, multi-purpose vehicles, sports-utility vehicles and minivans were sold in November, up 27 percent from a year earlier and 10.5 percent from October, said the China Passenger Car Association on Tuesday.
Passenger vehicle sales in the first 11 months of 2010 totaled 11,849,386 units, a 31 percent increase from last year, when China took over the title of auto sales champion from the United States for the first time.
"Although the Guangzhou Asian Games to some extent affected car purchases in the South China market in November, the rising sales in Beijing, and other big cities, are due to concerns that local governments may be considering curbing car purchases through license plate control. That boosted domestic sales greatly," said Rao Da, secretary-general of the association.
"And sales will be much higher in December as the Chinese government's policies, including tax reduction and subsidies, will expire at the end of the year," added Rao. "The boom in the last two months means the domestic market will easily reach the sales target of 17.5 million units for 2010."
The auto market in Beijing saw a surge in November as concerns grow that strict controls on car purchases may be implemented in 2011 to ease congestion pressures.
At Yayuncun Automobile Market, the largest in Beijing, more than 15,000 cars were sold during the month, a 33 percent rise from October.
"Such a big rise is rare, and the sales volume in November marked a new high in our market," Chi Yifeng, general manager of the market told China Daily. "Although car sales always increase when the year-end draws near, this time the rise is abnormal."
As of late November, automobile ownership in Beijing stood at 4.67 million, and there are 6.19 million registered drivers in the city, according to the Beijing Municipal Traffic Management Bureau.
The city has been choked by several severe traffic jams this year, a fact that seems to have rung alarm bells with policy-makers in the city.
At a meeting last Thursday, Beijing's Party chief Liu Qi urged a quick roll-out of efficient measures to ease congestion.
Liu Yumin , deputy head of the city planning body of Beijing, said in October that the traffic authorities are studying methods to control the boom in vehicle ownership and to ease traffic pressures.
However, Jia Xinguang, an independent auto analyst, suggested the municipal government has to be cautious in making policies to control car ownership, because restrictions will not only harm the market, but could also lead to a worsening employment situation in related industries.
"To ease the city's traffic pressure, long-term city planning should be introduced, and the key is to control the booming population," he said.
Jia suggested the removal of some of the city's manufacturing industries, which absorb huge numbers of migrant workers in suburban areas or neighboring cities, as well as the further development of public transport.