China auto sales may exceed 20 million in 2013, CAAM forecasts image

Auto sales in China may exceed 20 million for the first time this year, boosted by a recovery in economic growth and urbanization.

Deliveries of cars and buses may rise 7 percent this year to 20.65 million units, fueled by demand for passenger vehicles, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said in a statement in Beijing today. CAAM estimates passenger-vehicle sales may climb 8.5 percent to about 16.8 million units, while commercial vehicle sales will probably rise 1 percent to about 3.85 million units.

CAAM expects SUV sales to remain the fastest-growing segment, while commercial vehicles will post a slight gain. “A continuous and stable macroeconomic policy will be good for the development of the vehicle market,” CAAM said in a statement. The association said vehicle demand will be supported by urbanization and that there exists a big market potential for exports.

However, the pace of growth remains less than a quarter of the stimulus-led 32 percent rate in 2010, as cities including Beijing and Guangzhou restrict new vehicles to reduce smog and traffic jams. Under these circumstances, competition for market share is likely to intensify as leading foreign automakers including GM and VW will take on smaller cities traditionally dominated by local brands.