China’s Auto Sales Up 64 Percent In July

BEIJING (AP) -- China's auto sales surpassed the United States' again in July, jumping 64 percent over a year earlier to 1.1 million vehicles as sales tax cuts and government subsidies spurred demand, according to data reported Friday.

The figures are a boost to global automakers that are looking to China to drive revenues amid sluggish demand elsewhere.

Passenger car sales rose 70.5 percent from a year earlier to 832,600 units, the Xinhua News Agency said, citing the state-sanctioned China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

China, with 1.3 billion people, has long been expected to overtake the United States as the biggest vehicle market. But the U.S. economic slump hastened that shift by depressing American sales while China surged ahead.

Customers in the United States bought 997,824 cars and light trucks in July, according to research firm Autodata Corp.

China's July sales raise its total for the first seven months of 2009 to 7.2 million vehicles, while U.S. passenger car sales totaled 5.8 million.

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