China: Jan-Nov auto sales exceed 12 mln units image

China’s auto sales exceeded 12 million units in the first 11 months, with sales for the full year of 2009 set to break the 13 million mark, Xinhua News reported today, citing industry figures.

The figures from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) show that China is retaining its lead as the world’s biggest auto market amid feeble sales in the U.S., Japan and Europe. Detailed figures are expected to be released soon, Xinhua said.

In November alone, sales reached more than 1.35 million units, according to preliminary statistics. China accounted for a quarter of the global auto industry sales last month, the highest-ever proportion, Dow Jones reported last week.

Automakers sold 1.2 million vehicles in China in October and 1.3 million units in September. Jan.-Oct. sales rose to 10.9 million, compared with 8.6 million in the U.S. market. China’s auto sales totaled 9.38 million units last year.

Shanghai-based SAIC Motor, China’s biggest automaker, sold about 2.44 million vehicles in the Jan.-Nov. period, up 54% year on year, with sales by its joint venture Shanghai GM up 50.5% to 627,495 cars.

China’s auto sales growth is largely spurred by government stimulus measures such as tax cuts and subsidies meant to boost the auto industry and promote more fuel-efficient vehicles.