BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- China's auto sales and output growth lost steam in February and fell sharply from January, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) on Wednesday.
Xiong Chuanlin, assistant secretary-general of CAAM, announced at a press conference that February auto sales fell 33.09 percent month on month to 1.267 million units, while output declined 29.89 percent from January to 1.26 million units.
"I'm not surprised at the February data and it is unnecessary for us to be overly pessimistic about the Chinese auto market," Xiong said.
CAAM attributed the auto industry's weak performance in February to factors such as the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays, the end of consumption incentive policies and new limits on car purchases in Beijing.
On an annual basis, the February auto sales figure rose 4.57 percent year on year and output posted a year-on-year increase of 4.48 percent, according to CAAM.
The February data took China's auto sales in January-February to 3.15 million units and output to 3.07 million units, up 9.71 percent and 8.75 percent year on year, respectively.
China's auto sales jumped 32.37 percent year on year in 2010 to 18.06 million units, compared with a 46.15-percent surge to 13.64 million units in 2009.
"The volume of auto ownership is quite substantial in China now, and we think it is unlikely for us to achieve a rapid growth rate as high as the previous two years," Xiong said, adding, "I believe the auto industry will return to a reasonable growth this year."
By the end of 2010, about 200 million automobiles were owned in China. The country is the world's largest producer and consumer of automobiles, according to CAAM.