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China passes U.S. as world's largest auto market

For years, Western businesses have been looking at China's 1 billion citizens and licking their chops at the world's largest, most untapped consumer market.

That future is finally coming true: China has officially passed the U.S. as the world's biggest buyer of vehicles.

According to data released today by the China Association of Auto Manufacturers, 13.6 million vehicles were sold in that country last year, compared with record-low sales of 10.4 million in the United States. Overall, 2009 sales were up 46 percent in China compared with 2008.

U.S. vehicle sales were down 21 percent.

December, when the Chinese bought 1.4 million vehicles, helped push the communist nation past the U.S.

As in the U.S., which had a Cash for Clunkers program in 2009 meant to spur new car sales, China cut taxes on half on sales of new vehicles with smaller engines. That tax cut will be pared back this year, which probably will slow sales.

The Chinese are buying passenger cars. Sales of those rose 54 percent last year, to 10.3 million vehicles, showing China is not yet a truck nation, as the U.S. is.

GM is very big in China, which loves the Buick. Volkswagen is also very popular.


-- Frank Ahrens

Follow me on Twitter at @theticker

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 11, 2010; 3:02 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Buick, China, GM, General Motors, Volkswagen, auto sales, cash for clunkers  
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Comments

China's economy is about to collapse.
America will regain the title of most cars sold after Congress does the right thing and passes the new deal and creates 200M jobs.
Congress has the opportunity to reenergize the American Economy. If Congress takes a wait and see approach then America is doomed to a 15 year Great Depression which started in 2007.

Posted by: blakesouthwood | January 13, 2010 2:56 AM | Report abuse

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