Emerging car markets near in size to US

PASSENGER car sales in China during August rose 90 per cent year-on-year, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said yesterday, as the emerging market comes ever-closer to topping the US as the world&rsquo;s biggest car market. <br /><br />Car sales, including sport-utility and multi-purpose vehicles, hit 858,300, compared with 451,300 units sold a year earlier and 832,600 units sold in July. <br /><br />Overall vehicle sales, from trucks to buses, surged 81.68 per cent in August to 1.14m units from a year earlier. <br /><br />Last week, China&rsquo;s government said the number of cars sold for 2009 might hit 12m units.<br /><br />Sales of cars have jumped over the past four months by at least 45 per cent a month, boosted by a four trillion yuan (&pound;356bn) government stimulus plan. But the body also warned that such growth may not be sustainable in the long term.<br /><br />In August 2008, auto sales slumped 6.2 per cent as the Olympic Games put a dampener on demand. <br /><br />Meanwhile in India, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) said 120,669 cars had been sold in August against 96,082 in the same month last year.<br /><br />Sales for the first five months of the fiscal year have risen 13 per cent.<br /><br />&ldquo;Some further growth is anticipated,&rdquo; Sugato Sen, a senior director at SIAM said.<br /><br />Workers receive their annual bonus in October in India, which is expected to further boost auto sales.<br /><br />By contrast, in the US, sales of cars fell 28 per cent to 7.1m for the first eight months of the year, as it struggles against waning demand in the downturn. General Motors, the rescues car giant, has said it expects full-year sales to hit just 10.5m, while Ford forecasts 10.5m-11m.<br /><br />Last year, 13.2m vehicles were sold in China, and 16.8m per year was the average for the 10 years to 2007.<br /><br />FAST FACTS CAR SALES<br /><br />&9679; China&rsquo;s car sales shot up by 90 per cent during August thanks to government stimulus.<br />&9679; India is also faring well, as 120,669 units were sold in the summer month, up from 96,082 in August last year.