China auto sales slowing, dented by tax increase

China's auto sales growth decelerated in the first two months of the year following a sales tax increase.

An industry group, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said Friday sales of sedans, minivans and SUVs rose 6.3 percent from a year earlier to 3.8 million units. Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, rose 8.8 percent to 4.4 million.

China's auto sales rose 15 percent last year after Beijing cut in half a 10 percent sales tax on small-engine vehicles. The government restored part of that reduction in January, raising the tax from 5 percent to 7.5 percent.

China commercial data are volatile in January and February due to the Lunar New Year holiday. Analysts often combine the two months to screen out the impact of the two-week holiday.



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