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China auto sales fall 14.6% on year in April, tenth month of decline

China auto sales fall 14.6% on year in April, tenth month of decline
FILE PHOTO: Cars stand bumper to bumper in the evening rush hour traffic in central Beijing, China, December 8, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter   -   Copyright  Thomas Peter(Reuters)
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BEIJING (Reuters) – Vehicles sales in China, the world’s largest auto market, fell 14.6% in April from the same month a year earlier, the country’s biggest auto industry association said on Monday, marking the 10th consecutive month of decline.

Sales fell to 1.98 million vehicles, said the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

That followed declines of 5.2 percent in March and 14 percent in February, as well as the first annual contraction last year since the 1990s against a backdrop of slowing economic growth and crippling trade war with the United States.

Automakers have been lowering prices in China after the government introduced tax cuts to spur consumer spending.

Sales of new energy vehicles (NEV), however, remain a bright spot, rising 18.1% in April to 97,000 vehicles, CAAM said.

NEV sales jumped almost 62 percent last year even as the broader auto market contracted.

NEVs include petrol-electric hybrids vehicles, plug-in hybrids, battery-only electric vehicles and those powered by hydrogen fuel cells. China has been a keen supporter of NEVs and has implemented sales quota requirements for automakers.

(Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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