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US car giants report record October in China

A worker walks behind a logo of General Motors. — Reuters picA worker walks behind a logo of General Motors. — Reuters picSHANGHAI, Nov 6 — Two US car makers said yesterday that their sales in China hit record highs in October, as Japanese brands suffered in the Chinese market due to a political dispute between the Asian giants.

General Motors’ sales in China — the world’s largest auto market — surged 14.3 per cent year-on-year in October to a record for the month of 251,812 vehicles, the company said in a statement.

For the first ten months of the year, GM and its ventures sold around 2.3 million vehicles in China, up 10.5 per cent year-on-year, it said. GM sold more than 2.5 million vehicles in China last year.

Separately, Ford Motor said its sales in China reached a record 60,518 vehicles in October, jumping 48 per cent from the same month last year, according to a statement.

Analysts say the row over disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan, has affected Japanese automakers operating in China and helped boost demand for other foreign brands.

Toyota said Monday that it expects to sell 200,000 fewer vehicles in China in the second half of its fiscal year and take a ¥30 billion (RM1.14 billion) hit to its bottom line from slumping demand in China.

Toyota, Japan’s biggest automaker, sold 900,000 vehicles in China last year.

Japan’s Honda said last week that the firm would cut its full-year sales forecast in China to 620,000 vehicles from 750,000 units.

China’s nationwide auto sales slowed last year from 2010 after the government rolled back purchasing incentives and some cities imposed limits on car numbers to ease traffic congestion and cut pollution.

The nation’s auto sales rose just 2.5 per cent to 18.51 million units last year, compared with an annual increase of more than 32 per cent in 2010.

But some foreign manufacturers have managed to buck the trend with better brand recognition and perceptions of better quality among domestic consumers. — AFP-Relaxnews

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