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U.S. Automakers Sales Outpace China’s Domestic Brands

U.S. Automakers Sales Outpace China's Domestic Brands

Car sales growth in China moderated in May, although General Motors and other U.S. and foreign makers did better than domestic brands in the world’s largest auto market.

Passenger car sales in China rose 13.9% to 1.6 million, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said at a conference in Beijing.

Sales for the May-ended quarter were up 11.1% to 8.1 million vehicles, the group said. Including buses and trucks, total sales for the month were up 8.5% to 1.9 million.

General Motors had said earlier that its May sales in China rose 9.2% to 276,109 vehicles, including those made with state-owned joint venture partner Shanghai Automotive Industries. That was up from GM’s 6.3% growth rate in April.

Ford sales climbed 32% to 93,323 vehicles as the No. 2 U.S. automaker drives to catch up with GM in China. Since the beginning of the year, Ford sales have soared 39% to 461,473 units.

The world’s largest automaker, Toyota, said that its May sales in China zoomed 102.7% to 81,100 vehicles as Japanese makers recovered from a China-Japan political spat last year over disputed islands. Chinese consumers stayed away from Japanese automakers’ showrooms during that row.

Nissan reported that May sales edged up 3.1% to 106,100 vehicles. For the year to date, sales are up 15.4% to 507,700.

Chinese-branded autos collectively rose just 5.4% in May, the report said, as their market share fell 2.9% vs. a year ago to 36.5%.Chinese carmakers have fallen behind established global makers such as GM and Ford, although industry watchers say that as the quality of Chinese cars improves, domestic brands are expected to regain market share.

Some Chinese automakers plan to roll out new models this year in a bid to gain share.

In the first five months of 2014, 9.84 million vehicles were sold in China, CAAM said.

The group earlier forecast that China auto sales will grow 8% to 10% this year, down from from last year’s 13.9% pace.

As Chinese economic growth moderates, the pace of car sales has gradually declined from a peak above 40% in 2009, the Associated Press said in a report.