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China auto sales growth in April decelerates, domestic automakers regain market share

BEIJING, China – China’s auto sales growth decelerated sharply in April and domestic automakers regained market share from their global rivals, an industry group reported Monday.

Automakers are looking to China, the biggest auto market by number of vehicles sold, to drive future revenue, but sales growth has declined steadily as the country’s economic expansion cools.

Auto sales rose 3.7 per cent over the same time last year to 1.7 million vehicles, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. That was down from 9.4 per cent in March and double-digit rates last year.

Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, contracted by 0.5 per cent to 2 million vehicles.

Chinese automakers expanded their market share by 3.8 percentage points to 41.1 per cent. They are rebounding on the strength of a wave of new models after spending the past two years losing share to global brands.

SUVs, a segment in which low-cost Chinese brands are especially popular, showed more strong sales growth, rising 48.5 per cent over a year earlier to 461,600 vehicles. Sales of sedans fell 9.6 per cent to 932,000 vehicles.

—General Motors Co. said sales of GM-brand vehicles by the company and its Chinese joint venture partners declined 0.4 per cent to 258,484 vehicles.

—Sales of Ford Motor Co. vehicles rose a fraction of 1 per cent to 96,889 vehicles.

—Nissan Motor Co., the most popular Japanese brand in China, said sales declined 19.4 per cent to 95,500 vehicles.

—BMW AG, Europe’s biggest luxury brand, said sales rose 6.4 per cent to 115,078 vehicles.

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China Association of Automobile Manufacturers: www.caam.org.cn