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China’s H1 auto sales hit 6.1 millio

BEIJING – China’s total vehicle sales for the first half of the year rose 17.7 percent to 6.1 million units, and the full-year sales in 2009 are expected to exceed 11 million, an increase of over 17.3 percent from 9.38 million sold in 2008, xinhuanet.com reported on July 9, citing data from China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

The expected sales for the whole year surpass the trade associatio’s earlier forecast of 10.2 million units.

China’s auto sales in June grew by 36.5 percent from a year earlier to 1.14 million vehicles. That was the highest monthly growth rate so far this year, putting the country on track to overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest auto market in 2009.

In contrast, U.S. car and light truck sales in June fell 28 percent from last year to 860,000 units.

China’s passenger vehicle sales went up by 48.4 percent year-on-year to a record 872,900 units in June, CAAM said. Passenger vehicle sales reached 4.53 million units in the first six months, increasing 25.6 percent from the same period of 2008. But commercial vehicle sales fell 0.5 percent from the previous year to 1.57 million units, according to CAAM.

The top 10 automakers in sales in the first half of the year are SAIC, FAW, Dongfeng, Chang’an, BAIC, GAC, Chery, BYD, Brilliance and JAC with combined sales of 5.1 million units, accounting for 84 percent of the total vehicles sales in the period.

 “The most difficult period has passed. We are cautiously optimistic about the sales in the second half of this year and expect quite confidently that 2009 will see sales of 11 million units,” Dong Yang, deputy director of CAAM, was quoted as saying.

He also noted that becoming the world’s biggest auto market does’t mean China can lead the global auto industry, as Chinese carmakers have much to learn in technology, marketing, brand-building and development strategy.

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