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Auto output, sales decline month-on-month
By Gong Zhengzheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-08-18 05:58

Automobile output and sales in China tumbled last month from June, according to an industry organization.

Vehicle output stood at 444,900 units in July, down 10.72 per cent from the previous month, according to figures from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Sales of domestically-made vehicles dropped 16.11 per cent to 433,200 units.

"The decline (in production) mainly resulted from fewer working days at auto plants due to the hot weather and power shortages," said Zhu Yiping, the spokeswoman of the auto association.

All of the country's five biggest automakers - First Automotive Works Corp, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC), Dongfeng Motor Corp, Chang'an Motor Corp and Beijing Automotive Industry Corp - reported sales decreases in July from the previous month.

Sales of Chang'an, partner of US Ford Motor and Japan's Suzuki Motor, slid the most 46.69 per cent to 38,200 vehicles.

However, compared with a year ago, both vehicle output and sales posted robust growth in July, the auto association said.

Output and sales last month jumped 25.62 per cent and 25.18 per cent respectively from the same period last year, it said.

From January to July, sales of domestically-built automobiles totalled 3.22 million units, up 11.27 per cent from a year ago.

Sales of passenger vehicles, including cars, multi-purpose vehicles, sport utility vehicles and mini vans, grew 14.07 per cent year-on-year to 2.16 million units in the period.

Meanwhile, sales of commercial vehicles trucks and buses amounted to 1.07 million units, up 6.02 per cent.

China's top five automakers sold 2.15 million vehicles in the first seven months of this year, accounting for 66.81 per cent of the total domestically-made automobile sales.

Xu Changming, an auto analyst at the State Information Centre, predicted that vehicle sales would rise 15 per cent to 5.9 million units this year with passenger vehicles growing 18 per cent to 2.9 million units.

"However, this will depend on whether prices in the domestic vehicle market maintain stable. If there are hot price wars in the remainder of this year, customers will wait and see again just as they did last year," Xu told China Daily.

There have been no signs of a price war in the domestic car market so far this year.

Last week, German auto giant Volkswagen's joint venture with SAIC slashed prices of Gol compact cars and Santana and Passat sedans by 5.9-13.7 per cent, but no other major carmaker has followed suit.

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