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    China’s passenger car sales fell 10.3% in Nov from a year earlier as stalling economic growth sapped consumer confidence, state media reports said.

    It was the third month out of four that car sales have contracted on an annual basis in the world’s second-largest auto market. Sales rose in Oct.

    Auto sales for Jan-Nov rose 8.9% from the same period a year earlier to 6.16mil units, the official Xinhua News Agency and other state media cited the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers as saying.

    That compared with an 18.5% increase in passenger car sales in 2007.

    Chinese consumers are increasingly feeling the pinch from the global financial crisis, and cutting back on auto purchases and other discretionary spending, J.P. Morgan economist Frank Gong said in a briefing today.

    “People are losing high paying jobs which are being replaced by low-paying jobs in construction,” Gong said. “Auto sales will continue to slow down,” he said.

    Sales of passenger cars in November totaled 522,800 units, down 2.9% from the previous month and down 10.3% from the same month in 2007. Sales in October rose 8.4% from a year earlier, the industry group said.

    Sales of sedans fell almost 11% to 389,600 units compared with a year earlier, while sales of multipurpose vehicles dropped 30% to 14,400 units. Sports utility vehicle sales fell 3.6% from the year before, to 35,000 units, it said.

    Dongfeng Nissan, a joint venture between Nissan Motor Co and local automaker Dongfeng Motor Co, was among the few automakers to see sales rise; its passenger car sales rose 60% in Nov from a year earlier to 33,417 units, the report said.

    Most other major automakers saw double-digit declines in sales. That included Shanghai GM, General Motors’ joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corp, whose sales fell 35% in Nov from a year earlier to 29,469 units, the report said.

    Most Chinese automakers are state-owned companies that enjoy a degree of support from their local government owners. They also benefit from requirements that foreign automakers producing for the local market operate through joint ventures controlled by Chinese partners.

    China’s Export and Import Bank agreed on Sun to give Chery Automobile Co, a partner with Chrysler LLC and one of the country’s biggest automakers, a loan of 10bil yuan (US$1.5bil) to help support its international expansion, reports said.

    Source : AP via The star by: Anthony Lim

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