China Is Now The World's Top Auto Market

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China's carmakers tallied sales in 2009 and announced Monday that they surged to nearly 14 million vehicles. That means the Chinese bought about three million more cars than Americans did last year. A lot of that was thanks to a government incentive program in China, and officials are expecting a bit of a slowdown this year.

DEBORAH AMOS, host:

NPR's business news starts with China's auto market racing ahead.

(Soundbite of music)

AMOS: China is now the biggest automobile market in the world. China's carmakers tallied sales in 2009 and announced today that they surged to nearly 14 million vehicles. That means the Chinese bought more than three million more cars than Americans did last year. A lot of that was thanks to a government incentive program in China, and officials are expecting a bit of a slow down this years. But Chinese car executives still see plenty of pent-up demand, particularly in smaller cities where incomes are growing.

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