China, India see biggest monthly auto sales increases in five years

USA Today, December 9, 2009

China virtually doubled its car sales last month compared with the same month last year, and India's November sales rose 68%, both the biggest monthly increase in at least five years.

The stunning increases underscore how fast the two emerging-market countries are modernizing and how the auto industry is shifting its focus to capitalize in the growth. By contrast, U.S. auto sales last month were unchanged from a year ago, Autodata reports.

Sales of cars, sport-utility vehicles and minivans rose to just over 1 million last month in China, a 98% increase, Bloomberg reports, citing China Association of Automobile Manufacturers figures. China's passenger car sales have risen more than 50% for five consecutive months, raising spirits among analysts:

"China is the best story most automakers have globally," Bloomberg quotes Bill Russo, a senior adviser at Booz & Co., as saying. The company advises automakers and investors. "The challenge going forward is how to really tap the trends."

Among those automakers doubling sales was General Motors and its local Chinese partners.

India's sales increases reflected a growing economy in South Asia. Tata Motors was among the automakers that saw a big increase. Besides making the Nano, the world's cheapest car at about $2,500, Tata owns Jaguar and Land Rover.

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