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China could be world's No. 3 auto producer
Updated: 2005-02-05 23:35

China's auto production is expected to grow by 20 percent this year to 6 million vehicles, possibly passing Germany as the world's No. 3 producer, an industry association said Saturday.

China is the world's fastest-growing auto market as rising incomes make it possible for millions to buy their first cars. Foreign auto makers are investing billions of dollars in expanding production in China to meet booming demand.

A sedan of Beijing Hyundai is on display at a auto exhibition in Beijing. [newsphoto/file]

China produced 5.1 million vehicles last year, and the figure is expected to grow by 20 percent this year, said Zhang Xiaoyu, vice president of the China Federation of Machinery Industry, quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency.

Germany produced 5.5 million vehicles in 2004, the No. 3 producer behind the United States and Japan.

Auto sales grew by 15 percent last year, though that was below the growth rate of the previous year as customers waited for lower prices as China allows in more imports.

Prices are believed to have hit a low point, so sales should rise again this year, Zhang said.

``The market potentials have been delayed, which does not mean the lack of market demand,'' he was quoted as saying.

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