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January 11, 2010    

Car sales in China accelerate and take over US

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by Kay Murchie

Car sales in China surpassed the US in 2009 and, as a result, became the world’s largest car and van market.

The announcement comes just a day after it was revealed that China, which is the world’s third largest economy, overtook Germany as the world’s biggest exporter.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers today said 13.6 million vehicles were sold within the country in 2009, compared with annual sales of 10.4 million cars and light trucks sold in the US.

China has never produced more than 10 million cars in one year before. Only the US and Japan (the world’s number one and two economies) have produced 10 million cars in a single year.

Carmakers in China have been struggling to keep up with growing demand after state incentives, which include tax cuts on cars with engines smaller than 1.6 litres, resulted in a hike in sales.

Demand has been so strong that many people have to wait for weeks or even months to get their cars, according to Qin Xuwen, an analyst with Orient Securities.

Like many other Governments across the globe, China has implemented a scheme which allows consumers to trade in their old car.

The schemes have been extremely successful and resulted in strong sales in many countries.

Meanwhile, official figures recently showed that Chinese GDP growth surged to 8.9% in the July to September period, up from 7.9% in the April to June period.

The strong result was due to all sectors performing strongly and was the fastest GDP growth since quarter three 2008.

China’s Government is targeting economic growth of around 8% this year and many economists believe this is easily achievable.

Many analysts have described China’s recovery as “impressive”.

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