China industry body ups 2012 car sales growth f'cast to 11 pct


BEIJING, July 26 (Reuters) - China's passenger car sales could rise 11.1 percent this year, faster than previously forecast and picking up from the first half of the year, a leading industry group in the world's biggest automobile market was cited as saying on Thursday.

The China Association of Automobile Manufactures (CAAM) previously said it expected car sales to rise 9.5 percent this year, versus year-on-year growth of 7.1 percent in the first six months of the year.

The official Xinhua news agency cited the agency as giving the new forecast on Thursday. It kept its estimate for growth in overall automobile sales - which include commercial vehicles - unchanged at 8 percent, Xinhua said.

The more optimistic forecast for car sales could provide a lift for global auto firms from Ford Motor Co to Daimler AG, which are increasingly relying on China to help drive growth in sales as demand in their home markets falters amid economic uncertainty.

China's passenger cars sales will likely rise to 16.09 million this year, Xinhua cited CAAM as saying. Within that category, SUV sales are projected to increase 30 percent from the previous year to 2.07 million, according to the association.

China's overall automobile sales grew just 2.9 percent in the first half from a year earlier to 9.0 million vehicles, according to data issued earlier by the industry body. Car sales alone reached 7.61 million cars in the first six months.



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