China March Car Sales Rise 10% on Stimulus, Tax Cuts

From Bloomberg News:

China’s passenger car sales rose 10 percent in March from a year earlier after tax cuts and government subsidies boosted demand, narrowing the gap with the U.S. as the world’s largest car market.

Sales of cars, minivans and multi-purpose vehicles rose to a record 772,400 in the month, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Sales of cars and light trucks in the U.S. plunged 37 percent last month to 857,399 vehicles.

Demand for minivans surged 40 percent last month as the government began giving out 5 billion yuan ($731 million) in subsidies to help rural residents buy vans and light trucks. Sales growth in China for General Motors Corp., Daimler AG and other automakers contrasts with plummeting sales in the U.S., Japan and Europe.

Meanwhile, CBS News reports that demand for American cars is higher than ever in China, providing a break for beleaguered American car companies:

Turn on the TV and the market leaders are American. Both Ford and GM. build cars in China for China, and part of their success is what’s in a name. In China, a Ford or Chevrolet is considered a high-end import.

“China is a face-oriented culture,” said Bill Russo, an expert on the Chinese automobile market. “People buy an imported car in order to demonstrate an achievement of a particular social status.”

And when is the last time you heard a GM executive say that “our factories are running flat out to meet that demand,” as GM China president Kevin Wale recently did?

April 9, 2009, 3:05 PM
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Categories: Economy