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China's new-auto sales edged up 6% in July

Commercial vehicles led recovery as passenger cars struggled to pick up speed

GUANGZHOU -- China's new-vehicle sales climbed 6.2% on the year in July as automakers slashed prices following declines earlier this year, though the recovery in passenger-car sales has yet to reach full speed.

Some 1.97 million new autos rolled off the lot during the month, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Friday. This marks the second straight month of year-on-year gains, and follows dips in April and May. Manufacturers lowered prices significantly in the wake of those declines to get sales moving again.

But this nominal recovery is not a strong as it might be. While July's total is an improvement from a year earlier, it marks the first tally below 2 million new autos in five months.

Sales of commercial vehicles put up a strong showing, jumping 18% to 292,800 units. But those of passenger cars rose only 4% to around 1.67 million vehicles. Overall sales for the first seven months of 2017 increased 4% to 15.32 million vehicles, with those of passenger cars edging up just 2% to 12.93 million units.

American makers continued to struggle in China during July: General Motors' sales improved only 6%, while Ford Motor's slid 7%. The month was kinder to Japanese makers, with Nissan Motor's sales climbing 14%. Honda Motor and Toyota Motor saw gains of 12% and 11%, respectively.

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