China’s automobile market had a strongest start since 2010. Deliveries of cars, multipurpose and sport- utility vehicles, rose 20% from a year ago to 2.84m units in the first two months of this year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Sales of SUVs, the fastest-growing segment last year, continued their gains last month, rising 14%, while total sales of vehicles, including buses and trucks, advanced 15% to 3.39m units. The association forecasts total vehicle sales this year will surpass 20m units for the first time, driven by urbanization and rising incomes.
Ford and Hyundai both reported deliveries surged more than 40% during the first two months. General Motors’s China sales increased by nearly 8%, widening its lead over Toyota, as Japanese auto makers continued to struggle on the back of the territorial dispute between China and Japan over a group of islands. Audi, Volkswagen’s luxury brand, reported a 16% increase in China sales in the first two months. Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz posted a 39% drop in its January-February sales in China and Hong Kong.