SHANGHAI Feb 16 China's Chery Automobile Co aims
to grow its car sales by nearly a fifth in 2009 banking largely
on government support to bolster demand amid a slowing economy.
Chery aims to sell 419,000 cars this year, up 17.7 percent
from 356,000 units in 2008, its chairman Yi Tongyao said in a
statement on its website over the weekend.
Chery, the maker of QQ, the country's best-selling compact
sedan, reported a rare decline of 6.56 percent in 2008 as the
global recession took a toll on the once-booming industry.
But its Janury sales hit a monthly record of more than 35,000
cars, the statement said, making it China's largest national car
brand, lagging only the local ventures of General Motors (GM.N),
Volkswagen AG (VOWG.DE), Hyundai Motor (005380.KS) and Nissan
Analysts attributed the rebound in January sales to Beijing's
recent policy incentives, including halving the auto purchase tax
for cars with engine sizes below 1.6 litres.
"The policies are a big help for companies like Chery and
Geely as they are mostly playing at the lower-end segment," said
Yi Junfeng, an analyst with Changjiang Securities.
Geely Automobile Holdings (0175.HK) said last month that it
aimed to grow its car sales by 25 percent in 2009.
Great Wall Wall Motor Co (2333.HK), China's biggest SUV maker
which is diversifying into small car production, has targeted a
70 percent jump in its vehicle sales this year, a company
executive told Reuters last month.
Car sales growth in China slowed to a single-digit rate in
2008 for the first time in at least 10 years, spurring government
steps to bolster the industry, one of the pillars for the world's
Chery has said it plans to launch more than 10 new models in
(Reporting by Michael Wei and Fang Yan, Editing by Jacqueline