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Auto market optimistic after Jan sales
Updated: 2009-02-13 15:25

China's auto market is no match for the US despite its better performance in January sales of new vehicles, Dong Yang, deputy director of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), told Xinhua Thursday.

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"It is possible that China would surpass the US in new vehicle sales in 2009 due to the government's measures to boost the automotive industry and stimulate consumer confidence," said Dong.

China sold 735,500 China-made vehicles in January, down 14.35 percent compared to the same month of last year, while sales declined 37.1 percent to 656,900 units in the US, according to the CAAM.

But the situation is only temporary, and China is far from matching the US in terms of R&D, corporate management, market scale and market services, according to Dong.

The bleak auto market in the US was due to the decline in the country's economy. Huang Yong, chief expert of the China Automotive Technology and Research Center, said new car sales would return to 16 million units when the economy recovers from the financial tsunami.

China sold 7.22 million new vehicles in 2006, overtaking Japan as the second-largest auto market after the US, but in that same year, the US sold more than 16 million units.

Huang also said sales revenues were stronger in the US because the average price of new vehicles was higher than that of China.

Sales of used cars make up only about one-third of the total number of cars sold in China, while the used-car market is usually bigger than the new-car-market in developed nations, according to Huang.

There are roughly 60 million vehicles in China, with five out of every 100 people owning a car. While the vehicle population in the US stands at 235 million units, with 79 percent of the population owning a car.

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