BEIJING, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Passenger car sales in China are expected to rise 10 percent year-on-year in 2013, slightly lower than the 11.1 percent official growth estimate for this year, Xu Heyi, chairman of state-owned automaker BAIC Group, said on Friday.
China’s once sizzling auto market has been under pressure this year due to a slowing economy and rising fuel costs. Most recently, the sector has been weighed down by sluggish sales by Japanese brands, which has been hit by a rise in anti-Japanese sentiment stemming from a territorial row between Tokyo and Beijing.
Dong Yang, secretary general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), has forecast passenger sales to rise 11.1 percent to 16.1 million this year.
But many are now expecting CAAM to cut that forecast as passenger car sales are up only 6.9 percent at 12.6 million in the first 10 months of this year.
Xu made the comments to reporters on the sidelines of a the Communist Party’s Congress in Beijing. (Reporting by Li Ran and Fang Yan in BEIJING and Kazunori Takada in SHANGHAI; Editing by Matt Driskill)