China auto sales slow in 2010; market still No. 1

January 12, 2012 - 2:25 AM

SHANGHAI (AP) — Industry figures show vehicle sales in China rose a scant 2.5 percent in 2010 as higher prices and traffic controls kept buyers out of showrooms, but the market remained the world's biggest.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported Thursday that total vehicle sales rose to 18.5 million last year, up from 18 million in 2009, when sales rose 32 percent.

In contrast, U.S. auto sales jumped 10 percent to 12.8 million vehicles in 2011.

The expiration of tax incentives and subsidies, along with restrictions on car purchases in Beijing, slowed sales, which had grown at a double-digit pace every year since 1999 — apart from in 2008, at the height of the global crisis.