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China vehicle sales rebound in June thanks to price cuts

Staff Writer |
China's vehicle sales rebounded in June, the country's top industry association said.

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Total vehicle sales hit 2.17 million in June, up 4.5 percent from a year earlier, while sales for the first half of the year rose 3.8 percent to 13.4 million vehicles, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said on Tuesday.

The rise in sales, which industry insiders said was helped by hefty discounting, lends a sheen to the world's largest auto market, but growth overall is struggling to keep pace with 2016 when the market grew at its fastest pace in three years.

Overall vehicle demand in China would likely grow just 1-4 percent this year, mainly because consumers made purchases last year to benefit from lower tax rates, said Yale Zhang, head of Shanghai-based consultancy Automotive Foresight.

In January, CAAM predicted sales would rise 5 percent this year, slowing from 13.7 percent in 2016, citing the rollback of a tax incentive for small-engine cars and economic pressures. It stuck with that forecast on Tuesday.

June's rise, however, marks an improvement from April and May, when vehicle sales fell 2.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, registering two straight months of declines for the first time since 2015.

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