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China auto sales fall in January for eighth month

FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2018, file photo, a beam of sunlight is cast on vehicles on a city ring-road clogged with heavy traffic during the morning rush hour in Beijing. China’s auto sales fell for an eighth month in January, 2019, extending a painful decline for the biggest global market. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
February 18, 2019 - 10:07 PM

BEIJING - China's auto sales fell for an eighth month in January, extending a painful decline for the biggest global market as demand cooled amid a slowing economy and tariffs standoff with the U.S.

Purchases of sedans, SUVs and minivans fell 15 per cent from a year earlier to just over 2 million vehicles, according to an industry group, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Cooling growth and trade tensions with Washington are prompting jittery buyers to put off purchases.

The slump is a setback for global automakers that are looking to China to drive revenue and are spending heavily to meet Chinese government targets to develop electric vehicles.

2018 passenger vehicle sales suffered their first decline in nearly three decades. Purchases fell 4.1 per cent from the previous year to 23.7 million.

The downturn has prompted suggestions Beijing will cut sales taxes or offer other incentives.

January's total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, declined 15.8 per cent to 2.4 million, according to CAAM.

Sales by Chinese brands fell 22 per cent to 832,000. Their market share contracted by 2.4 percentage points to 41.2 per cent.

Purchases of electric and hybrid vehicles, which Beijing is promoting with subsidies, rose 138 per cent over a year earlier to 96,000 units.

Sales of SUVs, usually a bright spot for the industry, contracted 19 per cent to 878,900.

Volkswagen AG said sales fell 2.9 per cent to 387,300.

BMW AG said sales of BMW and MINI brand vehicles rose 15.5 per cent to 63,135.

Nissan Motor Co. said sales were off 0.8 per cent at 133,934.

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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