China auto sales slows in Jan-April image

China’s auto sales climbed 6 percent in the first four months of the year, slowing sharply from the double-digit growth seen in past years, an industry group reported Tuesday.

Sales of China-made autos rose 5.95 percent year on year to 6.53 million units during the same period.
In April, domestic car makers manufactured 1.53 million vehicles and sold 1.55 million units, according to data from the CAAM.
China’s auto sales rose 8.08 percent in the first quarter year on year to 4.98 million units, compared with the 71.8 percent growth rate reported in the first quarter of 2010.
Some Chinese auto makers have been hard hit this year by Beijing’s removal of tax breaks for small engine cars. The 10% sales tax had been halved in response to the global financial crisis, was raised to 7.5% last year and was fully restored at the start of this year.
The country’s congested capital is also restricting the number of vehicles allowed on the streets as rush hour sees near gridlock conditions.

“Car sales might still increase moderately for the full year but will unlikely match the hectic pace in 2009 and 2010,” said Cao He, an analyst with Minzhu Securities.

Ford China sold 184,906 vehicles in the first four months of this year, up 15%, and 44,340 last month.
The Focus was again in high demand with 17,556 sold in April, up 19% and the eighth consecutive month the model has seen double digit year on year sales growth in China. GM sold 203,367 vehicles in China in April with sales affected by the government’s decision to scrap some tax incentives for smaller cars.