The growth is hefty but represents a slowdown as compared to the 115.5 percent increased registered by the Chinese automotive market in January 2010. This is due to the fact that buyers stood away from showrooms during the 7 days of the Lunar New Year Holiday, that fell on February this year - last year it fell on January.
The overall Chinese auto market (including commercial vehicles) expanded by 46 percent last month, as a total of 1.21 million vehicles were sold. In January, the overall automotive sales more than doubled as compared to the same month of 2009, reaching a figure of 1.6 million units.
Last year, passenger car sales in China saw a 52.9 percent increase, with a total number of 10.3 million vehicles sold throughout the 12-month period. This enabled China to become the greatest automotive market in the world, surpassing the U.S. for the first time in history. One of the factors that enabled the sales to reach such a high level was the government subsidies program, that featured tax cuts and trade-in subsidies for the purchase of fuel-efficient cars.
In January 2010, the Chinese authorities introduced a fresh automotive stimulus program, that offers car buyers the possibility to couple the new scrappage scheme with a purchasing tax cut. The latter applies to vehicles which are powered by a 1.6 liter or smaller engine.