(Repeats to fix graphic link)
* Sept car sales up 19.3 pct as peak season settles in
* Monthly car sales in Q4 seen to top 1 mln on policy worries
* Market to resume rational growth pattern
(Adds analysts and executive's quotes)
By Fang Yan and Ken Wills
BEIJING, Oct 12 Automakers in China shipped 19.3
percent more passenger cars to dealers in September from a year
ago, official data showed, extending a rebound begun in August
ahead of the peak auto sales season.
Market demand is likely to remain solid in the winter months
as many people rush to buy cars before the year end on worries
that Beijing may scale back or even scrap its incentives in 2011,
industry observers said.
"September has always the best month for auto sales in China
as people could then get behind the wheels for sight-seeing trips
during the National Day holidays," said Sheng Ye, associate
research director at industry consultancy Ipsos' Greater China
region, referring to the week-long holiday from Oct 1.
"Demand would usually stay strong till the end of October.
But uncertainty about the policy side might continue to push up
sales in the fourth quarter."
Year-end marketing initiatives by automakers, eager to fulfil
or surpass their annual sales targets, will also help increase
traffic to showrooms nationwide, other analysts added.
"Of course it's not possible to repeat the 80 percent plus
growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2009 this year. But there is
no doubt that monthly car sales for the rest of the year could
well exceed the 1 million mark each," said John Zeng, an analyst
with J.D Power Asia Pacific said.
A total of 1.2 million sedans, sport utility vehicles and
multi-purpose vehicles were shipped to dealers in September,
compared with 1.02 million units a year earlier, the China
Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said on Tuesday.
That marks a further improvement from August when car sales
in the country rose by 18.7 percent, rebounding from July when
the market saw its slowest sales gain in 15 months.
Overall vehicle sales, which also include buses and heavy
trucks, came to 1.6 million units, up from 1.3 million units a
Globally, auto sales in the United States, Europe and Japan
remained stuck in low gear in September, while other emerging
markets such as India raced ahead. [ID:nN01188763]
For a Graphic on monthly China car sales:
SLOWER BUT RATIONAL GROWTH
Beijing unveiled a raft of policies at the beginning of 2009
to boost auto demand after a sharp market slowdown in 2008 amid a
global industry meltdown.
The initiative, including tax incentives for small car
buyers, has helped China eclipse the United States as the world's
largest auto market by number of units in the following year.
The government has hence been seriously considering scrapping
the initiatives as it wants to steer its young auto industry back
into a slower but more rational growth pattern, according to Xu
Changming, director of information resource department of the
State Information Center.
In fact, car sales had already started to cool down in the
second quarter as Beijing imposed measures to keep its economy
Kevin Wale, president and managing director of General
Motors' [GM.UL] China operation, estimated the market would
expand by 10 to 15 percent in 2011. [ID:nTOE68G01Z]
GM, Wale added, would grow at least 15 percent next year in
China, which has become the Detroit automaker's number-one market
in the first half.
(Editing by Jacqueline Wong)