BEIJING (AP) — China's explosive demand for SUVs helped boost auto sales 17.2 percent in November over a year ago, an industry group said Monday, as automakers prepared for the end of a key tax break and a potential slump in demand.
Drivers in the world's biggest auto market by number of vehicles sold bought 2.6 million cars, minivans and SUVs, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, rose 16.5 percent to 2.9 million.
The government helped shore up this year's demand by cutting the sales tax but that is due to end Dec. 31. Industry analysts expect sales growth to cool to mid-single digits unless that break is extended. Sales of SUVs jumped 41.5 percent in November over a year earlier to just over 1 million vehicles.
For the first 11 months of the year, passenger vehicle sales rose 15.6 percent over the same period last year to 21.7 million. The popularity of lower-priced models, a segment in which Chinese brands dominate, has helped domestic automakers claw back market share from bigger global rivals.
Sales by Chinese brands rose 21.7 percent in November over a year ago to 1.1 million vehicles, according to CAAM. Sales of domestic brand SUVs soared 53.1 percent to 605,000. Chinese competitors expanded their share of the SUV market by 4.5 percentage points to 59.4 percent.
General Motors Co. said sales of GM brand vehicles by the company and its Chinese partners rose 7 percent to 371,740. The company said its Cadillac, Buick and Baojun brands set monthly records. Year-to-date sales rose 8.5 percent to 3.4 million.
Ford Motor Co. said its sales rose 17 percent to 124,113. Sales for the first 11 months of the year rose 10.7 percent to 1.1 million.
Nissan Motor Co. sales rose 10.7 percent to 135,800. Year-to-date sales rose 9.3 percent to 1.2 million.
Toyota Motor Co. sales rose 10.6 percent to 111,100. Sales for the first 11 months were up 11 percent at 1.1 million.
BMW AG gave no November figure but said year-to-date sales of its BMW and MINI brands in China rose 11.2 percent to 472,705.