SHANGHAI -- Car sales in China fell for the third straight month in June, an industry body said on Tuesday, as Beijing's efforts to rein in the economy kept buyers at bay and forced manufacturers into a round of price cuts.
Sales slipped 5.8 percent to 167,282 units in June from May, an official at the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said, broadly confirming earlier figures from industry sources.
A senior industry source told Reuters on July 8 that sedan sales dropped 7.1 percent in June from May to 164,852 units.
Sales of sedans were up 4.8 percent in June from the same month last year, the official told Reuters on Tuesday, the slowest pace of growth in two years.
She added that car sales rose 31.6 percent to 1.13 million in the first six months of 2004 -- well off last year's pace.
Analysts say car sales this year may grow just 10-20 percent on 2003, when sales almost doubled to about 2 million units.
Auto makers such as Volkswagen AG and General Motors have already cut prices in past months, and analysts expect more cuts to come.
China has relied on measures like credit curbs since last year to cool pockets of the economy that many have feared may overheat on the back of alarmingly high investment levels.
In a sign that these measures may be working, the State Statistical Bureau said last week that second-quarter growth was 9.6 percent higher than a year ago, lower than many estimates.
Multinationals such as GM, Volkswagen and Toyota Motor Co. are planning to spend some $13 billion tripling capacity to 6 million cars by the end of the decade, stoking fears of a margin-sapping glut just down the road.