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China auto sales up 1 percent in March

BEIJING – China’s automobile sales rose 1.02 percent in March to 1.84 million units, the highest tally for March ever, according to data released by China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) on April 11.

Total vehicle sales in the first quarter, however, were still down, by 3.4 percent on a yearly basis to 4.79 million units.

Sales of passenger vehicles in March rose 4.5 percent to 1.4 million units, while those of commercial vehicles fell 8.8 percent to 438,600 units. In the first quarter, passenger vehicle sales reached 3.77 million units, down 1.25 percent, while commercial vehicle sales dropped 10.6 percent to 1.02 million units.

Sales of passenger cars and microvans posted negative growths of 2.2 and 8.5 percent respectively to 2.56 million and 647,300 units for the quarter, while those of MPVs and SUVs saw growths of 1.6 and 18.1 percent respectively to 123,700 and 441,600 units.

SAIC, Dongfeng, FAW remained as the top three automakers by selling 1,131,500, 832,600 and 642,300 vehicles in the first quarter. The top 10 automakers sold a combined 4.21 million vehicles during the period, which accounted for 87.8 percent of the total market.

CAAM also said that sales of new energy vehicles in the first quarter reached 10,202 units, including 1,830 battery electric vehicles, 1,499 hybrid vehicles and 6,873 alternative fuel-powered vehicles.

Dong Yang, secretary-general of CAAM insisted that China’s automobile market in 2012 is still likely to achieve positive growth. CAAM earlier in the year had expected a 5-10 percent growth for the year. 

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