SHANGHAI — Vehicle sales in China fell 3.4 percent year on year in the first three months of 2012, an industry group said Wednesday, as the world's largest auto market slows.
Total vehicle sales for the three-month period reached 4.79 million units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement.
Sales for March rose just 1.0 percent to 1.84 million, it added.
China's auto sales have slowed since last year after the government rolled back incentives and some cities imposed tough restrictions on car numbers to ease chronic traffic congestion and pollution.
Nationwide sales rose just 2.5 percent to 18.51 million units in 2011, compared with an increase of more than 32 percent in 2010.
March auto sales were also affected after China hiked fuel prices, including for petrol, by the biggest margin in nearly three years, the Shanghai Daily newspaper said Wednesday.
"The impact of higher fuel prices will extend to April and the following months," Rao Da, head of another industry group, the China Passenger Car Association, was quoted as saying.
But some foreign automakers in China saw strong improvement, helped by consumers favouring overseas brands and perceptions of higher quality.
General Motors sold 745,152 vehicles in China during the first three months of this year, a quarterly record for the US auto giant.
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