China's Passenger Car Sales Jump

Passenger car sales surged in October from the year before as government agencies stepped up purchases before their budget allocations expire at the end of the year.

SHANGHAI (AP) -- China's passenger car sales surged in October from the year before as government agencies stepped up purchases before their budget allocations expire at the end of the year.

The 1.2 million passenger cars sold in October was slightly lower than the 1.21 million sold the month before, but up 27 percent from the year before, the China Passenger Car Association said Friday in a report on its website.

Sales in China, the world's largest vehicle market by number of new vehicles sold, have slowed in recent months as the impact of recession-fighting government tax incentives and subsidies for purchases of small vehicles has waned.

Passenger car sales rose 36 percent over a year earlier in January-October, to 11.1 million vehicles, said the report by the private, Shanghai-based research group.

Sales of multipurpose and sport utility vehicles saw the fastest growth, rising 74 percent and 65 percent, respectively, said the report. There was a "surprise jump" in purchases by government agencies before their budgets expire at the end of the year.

It said 840,169 sedans were sold, up 23 percent, and 201,273 minivehicles were sold, up 17 percent.

Normally, auto purchases in October might be expected to weaken due to a weeklong National Day holiday at the beginning of the month.

The report forecast that sales for November, which has no public holidays, would likely rise still faster.

China's sales figures for all vehicles are due next week.

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