China's auto sales, output drop in Feb
BEIJING, March 11 (Xinhua) -- China's automobile sales dropped 13.56 percent year on year to 1.35 million units in February mainly due to the week-long Spring Festival holiday, an industry association said Monday.
Auto production fell 16.25 percent from a year earlier to 1.35 million units last month, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said in a press release.
The association attributed the declines to the Spring Festival holiday. The festival, or China's lunar new year, fell in February this year, while it was in January in 2012.
In the first two months of 2013, both auto sales and output saw growth, a sharp contrast to year-on-year drops witnessed in the same period last year, according to the CAAM.
Total sales in January and February expanded 14.72 percent to 3.39 million vehicles, while total output grew 14.06 percent to 3.31 million, the statement said.
"The auto industry had a smooth beginning this year, as the overall market demand was relatively strong," the association said.
Passenger cars are the major force driving the rapid growth of auto sales and production in the first two months, the CAAM added.
Sales of passenger cars expanded 19.5 percent, and output grew 17.8 percent from a year earlier.
Chinese-brand passenger cars saw sales surge 20.8 percent year on year to 1.23 million, accounting for 43.2 percent of total passenger car sales, slightly up by 0.5 percentage points from a year ago, the statement said.
Sales of Japanese-brand passenger vehicles dropped by 17.1 percent, whereas German, American, the Republic of Korea and French brands all saw year-on-year growth in the first two months.
German brands are still the most popular foreign-brand passenger cars as their sales accounted for 19.3 percent of the total, trailed by 12.5 percent for Japanese brands and 11.9 percent for American brands.
China remained the world's largest producer and market for automobiles for the fourth consecutive year in 2012, with both sales and output exceeding 19 million units.