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China auto sales increase in May: industry group
[BEIJING] Car sales in China, the world's top auto market, increased at a faster pace in May than the previous month, an industry group reported Monday, despite continued woes in the country's economy.
A total of 2.09 million vehicles were sold in China last month, up 9.8 per cent from a year ago, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said in a statement.
The numbers were an increase on the 6.3 per cent gain posted in April.
The pickup came despite protracted weakness in the world's second-largest economy, where growth slowed to 6.7 per cent in the January-March period, the worst quarterly expansion in seven years.
Key economic indicators further deteriorated in May, with official figures released this week showing the increase in fixed-asset investment, a main gauge of infrastructure spending, has slowed to its weakest pace in 16 years.
Some economists have predicted China's expansion will slow further in the second quarter.
Auto sales in the country reached 24.6 million last year, and in October the government sought to boost the market by slashing the purchase tax on passenger cars with small engines.
Sales of passenger cars reached 1.79 million units in May, up 11.3 per cent year on year, CAAM data showed.
US automaker General Motors outperformed the overall market, reporting earlier this month a 16.9-per cent surge in May sales in the country to nearly 300,000 units on the back of strong demand for its sport utility vehicles, multi-purpose vehicles and luxury cars.
Japanese car manufacturer Toyota sold more than 100,000 vehicles in China last month, up 12 per cent year-on-year, according to Chinese media reports.