* China October car sales up 75.8 pct on year
* Stimulus plans continue to drive sales
* Growth may remain strong in 2010 if incentives extended (Adds analyst quotes, detailed sales figures)
By Fang Yan and Jacqueline Wong
SHANGHAI, Nov 9 (Reuters) - China’s passenger cars sales in October surged 75.8 percent from a year earlier, official data showed, extending the explosive growth in recent months as government incentive policies continued to lure customers.
A total of 946,400 passenger cars were sold in October, up sharply from 538,500 units sold a year earlier, but slightly lower that 1.02 million units sold in September, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said on Monday.
“Autumn is usually the best auto selling season. But it is not that obvious this year as sales have been so strong all along,” said Qin Xuwen, an analyst with Orient Securities.
China’s auto market has been a major bright spot amid a global industry downturn thanks to a raft of government incentives which had effectively bolstered consumer confidence.
Overall vehicle sales, from trucks to buses, jumped 72.48 percent in October to 1.23 million units from a year earlier, the association said, after gaining 77.99 percent in September.
General Motors [GM.UL] more than doubled its China sales to 166,911 vehicles in October, continuing its string of monthly sales records since the beginning of the year.
Ford Motor’s (F.N) car venture in China sold 20,027 Ford brand vehicles in October, up 80 percent from a year earlier, company data showed.
Analysts had expected the market to slow next year if the government opts not to renew the policy incentives, which will expire by the end of this year.
But positive signs that Beijing may continue its efforts to boost domestic consumption, including automobiles, are raising hopes for another bumper year ahead.
A report by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology indicated last week that the government might extend some of the existing incentives, including cuts in sales tax for small cars, as well as introduce other steps.
“In that case, auto sales in China will continue to grow fairly strongly next year,” said Qin.
In the first 10 months, a total of 8.19 million passenger cars were sold in the country, up 45.18 percent from a year earlier, exceeding a total of 6.76 million units sold in the whole of 2008, according to official data.
Overall vehicle sales rose 37.71 percent to 10.89 million units, compared with last year’s total of 9.38 million units.
Reporting by Fang Yan and Jacqueline Wong