February auto sales in China ease to 1.6 million

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SHANGHAI: China’s auto sales eased in February from a record high in January, as the long Lunar New Year holiday affected the market, an industry group said on Monday.

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Auto sales in China—the world’s biggest car market—rose 17.8 percent last month from a year ago to 1.60 million vehicles, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said in a statement.

In January, sales were a record for any month at 2.16 million units, though year-on-year growth was only 6.0 percent, according to previous figures.

“Under the influence of the Spring Festival, China’s February auto production and sales naturally fell compared with January,” the group said.

The traditional Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, started on January 31. Businesses typically close for at least a week for the holiday.

Last year, China’s auto sales surged 13.9 percent to 21.98 million vehicles, as a recovery in Japanese brands previously hurt by a diplomatic row offset the impact of slowing economic growth.

The Chinese market is important to foreign companies, which have turned to the Asian country to offset slowing sales elsewhere.

US auto giant General Motors has said it sold 257,770 vehicles in China in February, up 19.9 percent from a year ago and setting a new company record for the month.

Rival US automaker Ford has said its China sales soar 67 percent in February to 73,040 vehicles.

AFP

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