China's car sales rose in September for a fifth straight month to their highest level this year.
Car sales rose by 8pc in September from a year earlier to 2.09mn, according to the China association of automobile manufacturers. The pace of the increase was the second-fastest in 29 months.
The rebound in demand left total sales of 13.38mn during January-September down by 12pc from the same period last year. The contraction narrowed from a 15pc fall in sales during January-August.
Chinese car production rose by 9.6pc in September to 2.04mn.
Car sales have been getting a boost from a series of nationwide stimulus measures and promotions to speed up the country's economic recovery. Firmer buying interest continued through the third quarter as consumers bought cars ahead of the new year school in September and its golden week holiday in the first two weeks of October.
But the rise in car sales continued to lag the 12.8pc increase in the country's total automobile sales to 2.56mn in September.
Auto sales got a boost from a 40pc surge in demand for commercial vehicles. Truck sales extended their rise in September to a record high. Infrastructure investment and stimulus measures are expected to sustain this strong demand during the fourth quarter of the year.
Sales of sports utility vehicles rose to a record high for the month of September. Sales of sedans and cross-passenger cars also rose strongly. Sales of multi-purpose cars fell.
Chinese-branded car sales rose by 7.5pc in September. These accounted for 37.6pc of total car sales in September. The share was 0.2 percentage points lower than the same month last year.
Sales of environmentally-friendly cars got a boost from a pick-up in government initiatives to support demand for these vehicles. Sales rose by 67.7pc in September to a record high for the month of September.
Sales of electric vehicles rose by 71.5pc to 112,000. Sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles rose by 54pc to 26,000.
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