SHANGHAI — China's auto sales powered ahead in November, jumping 27 percent to 1.7 million vehicles, it was announced on Thursday, as car buyers rushed to beat expected increases in license plate fees in some cities.
The rebound after a slowdown during the summer pushed sales for the year to 16.4 million vehicles, up 34 percent from the year before, the government-affiliated China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said in a notice Thursday on its website.
While American automakers celebrate signs of a long-awaited revival in U.S. car sales, China's strong growth suggests it will retain its status, acquired last year, as the world's biggest market by sales of new vehicles.
Sales of passenger cars surged 29 percent over a year earlier to 1.34 million, CAAM reported.
The expected expiration of subsidies for purchases of small, energy efficient cars next year, and rumors that some cities plan to counter growing traffic problems by raising license plate fees, prompted buyers to head for the showrooms, says Zhang Xin, an auto analyst at Guotai & Jun'an Securities, in Beijing.
"Consumers want to catch the last of the cheap car plates," Zhang said.