China auto sales hit 1.57 million in May 2012

A total of 1.57 million automobiles were manufactured in China last month, China Business News reported today. The figure, which comes from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, is 4.66 percent lower than April and 16.9 percent higher than last May.

Automobile sales, meanwhile, totaled 1.61 million units, decreasing 1.06 percent from April and growing 15.97 percent from last May.
May production and sales numbers for passenger automobiles were 1.27 million units and 1.28 million units, respectively.

The amount manufactured was 2.76 percent lower than the previous month, while the amount sold was 0.46 percent higher. Both figures represented positive year-on-year growth of slightly over 21 percent. 6.33 million passenger automobiles have been sold in the five month period from January to May.

Domestic own brand manufacturers sold 516,400 passenger automobiles in May. Their cumulative market share fell another 0.47 percent in April to 40.28 percent, a whole 3.28 percent less than last May. By comparison, German, Japanese, US, South Korean and French manufacturers sold 245,100, 238,800, 146,000, 100,400 and 35,200 vehicles. Their respective market shares were 19.12 percent, 18.63 percent, 11.39 percent, 7.83 percent and 2.75 percent.

US manufacturers' performance last month was particularly noteworthy, with their market share increasing a full 0.87 percent.
Furthermore, Chinese automobile exports broke the 100,000 unit barrier for the first time in May.

According to CAAM statistics, China exported a total of 103,400 vehicles last month, 18.2 percent more than the previous month and 43.4 percent more than last May. A total of 382,500 vehicles have been exported from January to May, with Algeria, Russia, Chile, Iraq and Iran being top buyers.

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Lotus acquisition by SAIC and Youngman denied

British sports car manufacturer Lotus Cars has been through a tumultuous time as of late. Only last week, CEO Dany Bahar was relieved of his position by new parent company DRB-Hicom, which appointed one of its executives, Aslam Farikullah, to take his place. At the same time, rumors began circulating of Chinese enterprises SAIC and Youngman Lotus preparing to purchase the manufacturer. However, in a report appearing on International Finance News today, Lotus officially denied such rumors.

"We have not received any such information," Lotus China's public relations office responded when asked about the rumors. The office added that the speculations are baseless. SAIC Group, Youngman Automobile and DRB-Hicom all have yet to officially comment on the matter.

Lotus has been in dire financial straits as of late. All sorts of rumors, including reports that the manufacturer is preparing to abandon its Formula One program, have been spreading throughout the media. Malaysian automobile manufacturer Proton sold its 42.7 percent stake in Lotus to DBR-Hicom earlier this year. However, due to the manufacturer's poor sales, DRB-Hicom saw its stock price on Bursa Malaysia drop heavily.
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New Seat Toledo leaks on to web

The guys over at have leaked these pictures of the new 2012 model year Seat Toledo on to the internet.

New Briliance concept car caught before unveiling

Brilliance, the Chinese car maker with close links to BMW (the two operate a joint venture that produces 3- and 5-series models for the domestic Chinese market), is working on a new concept car.

Caught here for the first time the new five door hatchback/crossover has reportedly been styled by ex-Pininfarina designer Dimitri Vicedomin who now heads up design operations at Brilliance. Hands up those who see cues from the Lancia Delta, Alfa Romeo Giulietta,Alfa Romeo Brera and Alfa Romeo Kamal concept in the new Chinese car's lines . . .

We figure the new Brilliance concept is a planned replacement for the Splendor/FRV/FSV line. But with a firm tongue in cheek we're already calling it the Alfa Romeo Delta here at 

Facelifted 2013 model year Kia Sorento without disguise

As the saying goes, you can run but you can't hide. Here's Kia's facelifted Sorento lurking in China. Seen here for the first time without diguise is the big Korean SUV's reworked front and rear end styling, including its new head- and tail lamp treatment.  

Hongqi 77X gets an internet airing

Hongqi, an upmarket brand of China's First Automobile Works, is set to launch a third model - the 77X. Revealed here for the first time, it is planned to slot into the Hongqi line-up between the 77H and 77L. Details remain scarce but whispers out of FAW suggest the 77X is based on underpinnings provided by the Volkswagen Group; most likely those of the superceded Audi A6.

Volvo XC40 hits the internet

This long range picture of Volvo's upcoming XC40 has made its way onto various internet sites over the weekend. Expect to see the toughened up V40, complete with raised ride height and four wheel drive, in all its production glory at the Paris auto show in September.