China's auto sales rose 4.1 percent in August from the same month a year earlier, driven by strong demand for SUVs, an industry group reported yesterday.
Drivers in the world's biggest market by number of vehicles sold purchased almost 1.9 million SUVs, sedans and minivans, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, rose 5.3 percent to almost 2.2 million.
SUV sales rose 17.7 percent to 774,000 while sedan sales edged up 1.6 percent to 933,000.
Auto sales for the first eight months of the year rose 2.2 percent from a year earlier to 14.8 million, down sharply from 2016's full-year growth of 15 percent.
Sales growth this year has been relatively weak in comparison with a spike in demand last year as buyers moved up purchases to take advantage of a temporary sales tax cut. Demand cooled after a portion of the tax was restored in January.
August sales of gasoline-electric SUVs and sedans rose 95.5 percent over a year earlier to 56,000 while purchases of pure-electric cars rose 21.6 percent to 1,200.
General Motors Co. said sales of GM-brand vehicles by the company and its Chinese partners rose 12 percent in August from a year earlier to 328,425. Ford Motor Co. sales declined 1 percent in August from a year earlier to 98,000, while year-to-date sales were off 6 percent at 720,000. The company said sales by its Lincoln luxury brand rose 105 percent to 5,200.
Nissan Motor Co. sales rose 17.8 percent to 122,319. Year-to-date sales were up 9 percent at 877,638. Toyota Motor Co. sales rose 11.3 percent to 108,500 units. Sales for the first eight months of the year increased 10.7 percent to 841,500. Geely Auto Group, one of China's biggest independent brands, said sales rose 80 percent from a year earlier to 96,505 sedans and SUVs. It said sales to date were up 88 percent at 718,236.