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Nation's auto output jumps
( 2003-09-24 01:23) (China Daily)

Automobile output in China grew by more than a quarter during the first eight months of this year over a year ago, according to an industry association.

The output totalled 2,781,800 units during the period, an increase of 35.99 per cent from the same period last year, statistics from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed.

Passenger car output in China surged by 91.72 per cent year-on-year to 1,223,400 units from January to August of this year, according to statistics.

The figure topped total output of 1,120,000 units last year.

Automobile output in August alone stood at 360,600 units, up 46.69 per cent from a year earlier, and up 7.45 per cent from the previous month, statistics indicate.

The figure included 163,200 passenger cars, 102,300 buses and 95,100 trucks.

The passenger car output in August reported the biggest growth rate of 61.72 per cent from a year earlier.

Total sales of automobiles made in China increased by 30.65 per cent year-on-year to 2,723,500 units during the first eight months of this year, statistics showed.

That of the domestically-made passenger cars reached 1,157,500 units during the period, an increase of 72.61 per cent from a year ago.

Total output of all kinds of automobiles and passenger cars this year is forecast to exceed 4 million units and 1.8 million units this year respectively based on the current growth momentum.

Helped by robust sales, major domestic automakers reported bumper profits from January to August this year.

Profits reported by China's top 14 State-run automakers stood at 23.25 billion yuan (US$2.81 billion) during the period, an increase of 76.70 per cent from a year earlier, statistics from the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) under the State Council showed.

The profit growth rate was down 6.8 percentage points from that reported in the first seven months of this year, according to statistics.

These automakers' core-business turnover reached 286.85 billion yuan (US$34.64 billion) during the first eight months of this year, up 40.5 per cent from the same period of last year.

However, product stocks grew increasingly as a result of faster growth of output over sales starting from the second half of last year and increasingly fierce market competition, said SASAC.

These automakers' stocks rose by 42.50 per cent year-on-year to 23.41 billion yuan (US$2.83 billion) from January to August this year, statistics showed.

The majority of automakers in China, including Sino-foreign joint ventures, have launched new models and cut prices to boost sales and market share so far this year.

The latest model was the Fit Saloon of Japan's Honda Motor Co launched last week at its joint venture operation in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province.

The 1.3-litre Fit, to retail between 99,800 yuan (US$12,100) and 109,800 yuan (US$13,300), is expected to spark a new wave of price cuts in the crowded domestic compact car segment, analysts say.

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