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DATE News (chronologically)
04/09/09
automotive
China auto sales hit record 1.11 million in March
China's auto sales hit a monthly record of 1.11 million vehicles in March, exceeding U.S. sales for the third month in a row, as tax cuts and rebates for small car purchases lured buyers back into showrooms, according to industry figures.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said sales rose 5 percent in March from a year earlier, when sales totaled 1.06 million, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.

The data confirmed earlier, partial industry estimates suggesting sales remained robust in China, the world's second biggest auto market, despite deteriorating conditions in most major markets.

Americans bought 857,735 new vehicles in March, down 37 percent from the 1.36 million sold in the same month a year earlier, according to Autodata Corp.

But a 25 percent jump in U.S. sales from February has raised hopes that the worst may be over for an industry battered by global economic malaise and financial catastrophe.

China is bound to eventually overtake the U.S. as the world's largest auto market, and recent developments have accelerated that trend.

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