Vehicle sales increase, but dealers still see profits drop


   China's passenger vehicle sales continued to recover in August, with the third-highest year-on-year growth in 20 months, making analysts raise their forecasts for full year sales in 2012.

  Total sales of cars, sport-utility vehicles, multi-purpose vehicles and minivans increased 11.2 percent over last year to 1,158,921 units in August, according to figures from the China Passenger Car Association.
  They mean that in the first eight months of the year, 9,205,675 passenger vehicles were sold in the world's largest automobile market, an increase of 6.4 percent year-on-year.
  "The continued uptrend of the market in August was expected. But the increasing production of energy-saving vehicles, in response to both market demand and the government policy, acted as a catalyst for sales," said Rao Da, secretary-general of the association.
  He said that he expected the sales momentum to continue in September, helped by the recently launched policy of free tolls on highways during the approaching week-long National Day holiday, which should help attract more consumers to showrooms before October.
  "That will greatly ease the impact of expected fuel price hikes in September," said Rao.
  "We also expect that China's GDP will recover from September, which makes us confident to raise our growth forecast for this year from negative to 7 percent year-on-year."
  He said that although the commercial vehicle sector will remain at its current negative growth of 5 percent from a year earlier, he expected total automobile sales in 2012 to hit 19.3 million units from last year's 18.5 million units.