China Auto Sales Up 49% in January on SUVs image

Last month auto sales in China increased 49%, a monthly record, due to increased sales for SUVs.

In January, wholesale deliveries were up to 1.73 million units, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, surpassing the analysts’ estimates of 1.5 million units. Toyota saw its sales increase for the first time over the past seven months and GM sold a record number of vehicles. Analysts predict that this year sales will surpass 20 million units for the first time as the economy rebounds.

“This is a good start but it’s difficult to judge the market performance just based on one month,” said John Zeng, director of Asian forecasting at LMC Automotive in Shanghai. “SUVs are not a surprise since there are many model activities at the moment by both local and foreign automakers.”

In January total sales reached 2.03 million units, up 46%, helped by the SUVs, which continued their gains, increasing 91% to 240,700 units. Sedan deliveries totaled 1.19 million units, an increase of 49%. The best-selling sedan in January was VW’s Lavida, surpassing Ford’s Focus, which was the top-seller for the last five months.

During the last three months of 2012, economy in China was up 7.9%, the first acceleration in the past two years, and analysts estimate that it might increase with 8.1% during the first quarter.