China Car Sales up 26.5% in February image

Car sales in China rose 26.5 percent in February to 1.21 million units (passenger vehicles), the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Friday.

The data reflects a clear trend reversal compared to last January, which recorded a trend growth drop of 23.8% with a total of 1.16 million units registered.

Total vehicle sales in China, the world’s largest auto market, rose 28.5% in February from a year earlier to 1.57 million vehicles, the association said in a statement.

Industry observers expect the market to continue to stabilise in the coming months, thanks to solid demand in smaller cities that are replacing big urban centers in the coastal areas as the major growth catalyst.

“The 21 working days that fell in February supported an increase in production and sales,” said Rao Da, secretary-general of the association.

“But if we put together the sales that occurred in the first two months, then the figure has stilldeclined by 1.4 percent from last year.”

Mr. Rao remarked that production figures in February far exceeded end user sales, allowing inventories to increase once again. 2.31 million passenger automobile were manufactured during the month, nearly 50,000 units higher than sales in the first two months of the year.

LMC expects passenger car sales to rise nearly 10.9 percent in 2012.