Strong evidence suggests China surpassed America's auto sales last month - a trend, if contiuned, will eventually turn China into the world's largest car market.
From the article:
Official data for China's auto sales in January will not be out until next week. But they are expected to show sales at about 790,000 units for the month, Zhang Xin, an analyst at Guotai Junan Securities in Beijing, said Wednesday.
In the U.S., meanwhile, auto sales in January tumbled 37 percent to 656,976 vehicles, the lowest monthly level in 26 years.
General Motors is one of China's biggest automakers, with billions of dollars invested in joint ventures and a record 1.09 million vehicles sold in 2008, up 6 percent from the year before.
Struggling GM has been counting on the growth in China, which passed up Japan in 2006 to become the world's second-largest vehicle market, thanks to strong sales to the country's fast-growing middle class.
But lately China's car market has been cooling as consumers hold off on big purchases. Domestic vehicle sales rose only 6.7 percent in 2008 to 9.38 million units - the first time growth has fallen below 10 percent since 1999.
And January's sales in China fell about 8 percent from the monthly record 860,000 vehicles in January 2008. That same month in the U.S., sales topped 1 million.