Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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China's Automobile Sales up by 9% at End of First Quarter

Automobile sales in China increased by 9.5% at the close of the January to March sales period based on a year-on-year count.

Analysts say consumers took advantage of the lower prices of current stocks ahead of the release of new models during the annual car show in Beijing, which was heightened by anxieties of consumers on rumors of a government restriction on car sales.

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Of the 4.6 million vehicles sold, 1.59 million were sports utility vehicles (SUVs), a very popular vehicle type among Chinese consumers.

Industry analysts say sales went briskly in March compared to January, especially in February where consumers were more focused on the Spring Festival.

The sales data was released this Tuesday by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA). Its Secretary-General, Rao Da, said sales in early March were slow but picked up in latter weeks.

Rao attributes the sudden increase to consumer concerns on a planned restriction on motor vehicle sales by the city government in Hangzhou in order to curb air pollution.

Nearly 70,000 units were sold in just one day in Hangzhou when the government made its announcement on March 25.

Hangzhou, the fourth largest city in all of China, is the capital of Zhejiang province, located in the eastern region of China.

Rao projects that vehicle sales will continue to rise across China as ten other cities plan to follow the Hangzhou formula in solving traffic and environmental problems.

Consumers are expected to act ahead of any restrictions and the CPCA sees some 500,000 units being sold before 2014 ends.

The CPCA is also optimistic that sales will rise further this April when 300 new models of vehicles from different makers are unveiled in this year's Beijing auto show.

Foreign-made vehicles are a favorite among Chinese buyers, outpacing locally made vehicles.

Japanese automaker Nissan reports that it sold 6,258 units of its Infiniti luxury model, up by 2.53 percent from last year's sales.

American car maker General Motors is also reporting a record sale in March, an annual increase of 7.8% and a 12.6% increase for the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.

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