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China auto sales down 0.5% in April: industry group

[BEIJING] Auto sales in China, the world's largest car market, fell 0.5 per cent year-on-year to 1.99 million vehicles in April, an industry group said Monday.

For the first four months of the year, auto sales increased 2.8 per cent on the same period last year to 8.14 million vehicles, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

The fall in April compared with a rise of 3.3 per cent in March, CAAM figures showed.

Slowing economic growth, limits by some cities on vehicle numbers and a prolonged corruption crackdown affecting the luxury segment have all had an impact on sales in China.

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But foreign brands have generally held up well despite the economic downturn, due to consumer perceptions of better quality.

Japanese auto maker Honda said last week it sold 71,546 units in China in April, up 11.7 per cent year-on-year.

Sales by Japanese giant Toyota, the world's biggest vehicle manufacturer, rose by 7.8 per cent to more than 92,600 units last month, CAAM said last week citing the company's figures.

US firm Ford sold 96,889 vehicles in the country in April, almost unchanged on 2014 but pushing year-to-date sales to 393,714 vehicles, an increase of seven percent from the same period last year, it said last week.

China's auto sales reached 23.49 million vehicles last year, jumping 6.9 per cent from 2013.