China's passenger vehicle sales in January surged more than 45 percent from a year earlier, the largest year-on-year growth since April 2010, indicating the sector is shifting gear back into high-speed growth after a two-year slowdown.
A total of 1,704,185 cars, sport utility vehicles, multi-purpose vehicles and minivans were delivered in the nation in January, up 45.4 percent over January last year and a 9.2 percent increase from the previous month, the China Passenger Car Association said on Thursday.
"Such high growth was a result of five more working days in January and more than 10 days of a slack market in January last year due to an early Spring Festival," said Rao Da, secretary-general of the association.
"The rebound in the national economy also supported vehicle purchases."
He added that it would be reasonable to expect a more than 35 percent month-on-month fall in sales growth in February, as the approaching week-long Spring Festival holiday reduces working time this month by five days.
However, he pointed out that combined sales in the first two months of 2013 are likely to see growth rise by 25 percent year-on-year.
"The downturn since the government withdrew stimulus measures at the end of 2010 has ended. The passenger vehicle market is returning to high-speed growth," said Rao.
General Motors, the largest foreign automaker in China in terms of sales, said on Tuesday that January was the first month in which it and its joint ventures sold more than 300,000 vehicles in a single month, an increase of 26 percent year-on-year.
US automaker Ford Motor Co's passenger vehicle sales surged 135 percent to 44,439, also reaching a record high for January.