China's auto market less robust in 1H of 2011

Updated: 2011-07-08 22:23


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BEIJING - China's automobile sales and output slowed down during the first half of 2011, China's automakers' association said on Friday.

Automobile sales in the first six months of the year hit 9.32 million vehicles, up 3.35 percent from the previous year, according to a report issued by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

However, the overall sales growth rate was still 29 percentage points lower than that of the same period last year, the report said.

Automobile output in the first six months topped 9.16 million vehicles, up 2.48 percent from the previous year. However, the overall output growth rate was about 30 percentage points lower than that of the same period last year, according to the report.

June saw a rebound in both auto output and sales, the first increase after two straight months of declines.

Auto sales topped 1.44 million vehicles in June, up 3.62 percent month-on-month or 1.40 percent year-on-year; output stood at 1.40 million vehicles, up 3.83 percent month-on-month or 0.65 percent year-on-year.

Dong Yang, secretary-general of the CAAM, said the market is becoming "more rational and healthy" as it enters a period of stable growth.

The auto market's growth rate has slowed down remarkably in the first half of 2011, as the government has suspended or cancelled preferential policies that allowed the market to grow at a rapid pace over the previous two years, Dong said.

Auto sales in the second half of the year will be significantly higher than those of the first half, with annual auto sales expected to grow by 5 percent, Dong said.

The government slashed its car purchase tax for small-engine vehicles from 10 percent to 5 percent in 2009. The same tax was slightly raised to 7.5 percent in 2010, but this policy was discontinued at the end of the year.

The auto market has been growing at a high speed over the past two years and it's "high time" for the market to correct itself, according to the report.

Several Chinese cities have tightened automobile purchase policies since the end of 2010. Beijing created a car-quota system on January 1 of this year to combat its growing traffic woes, allowing only 240,000 new cars to be registered in the city this year. 2010 saw the registration of 800,000 new vehicles in the city.

China's auto sales surged more than 32 percent year-on-year to hit 18.06 million vehicles sold last year, making the country the world's largest auto market for the second year in a row. Last year's automobile output hit 18.26 million vehicles, an annual increase of 32.44 percent.