China's auto output, sales soar in 1st Q

Updated: 2007-04-10 21:01

BEIJING  - China's auto output and sales soared more than 20 percent in the first quarter this year, according to figures from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

China produced 2.19 million vehicles in the first quarter, up 22.6 percent from the same period last year.

About 1.58 million passenger cars - including sedans, sport utility vehicles (SUV) and multi-purpose vehicles (MPV) - were rolled out, while 614,500 commercial vehicles - including buses and trucks - left the factory floor.

Meanwhile, auto sales rose 22.2 percent to 2.12 million vehicles.

Monthly output in March hit a record high of 853,800 as did sales which topped 847,00 units. Output and sales were up 16 percent and 17 percent respectively.

Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corp. (SAIC) sold 397,100 vehicles in the first quarter, outselling all other Chinese automakers.

The Jilin-based First Automobile Works (FAW) and the Hubei-based Dongfeng Motors followed, with sales of 328,100 vehicles and 262,000 vehicles respectively.

The three Chinese automakers, which have all set up Sino-foreign joint ventures, mainly produce foreign designed passenger cars.

FAW and Dongfeng Motors are also leading truck makers in China.

Anhui-based Chery, which became in March the first domestic brand to top China's monthly passenger car sales since 1987, ranked seventh, with quarterly sales of 103,100 units.

The top ten sellers, which also included the Beijing-based Beiqi Foton, the Liaoning-based Brilliance Auto and the Zhejiang-based Geely, sold a total of 1.77 million vehicles in the first quarter, holding 84 percent of the Chinese auto market.

China overtook Japan to become the world's second largest market for new vehicles in 2006 next only to the United States, registering sales of 7.22 million units.

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