China auto market has bumper year but 2017 outlook is weaker

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Industry figures show China's auto market had a bumper year in 2016 as sales grew by 15 percent, with drivers rushing to buy cars before a tax break expired at the end of the year.

The data released Thursday showed that automakers sold 24.4 million cars, minivans and sport-utility vehicles in China, the world's biggest auto market.

Booming sales, driven by strong demand for SUVs, were helped by the Chinese government's cut in the sales tax. However, the rebate ended on Dec. 31, and industry analysts predict sales growth will cool in 2017.

Numbers from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed that passenger car sales rose 9.1 percent in December to 2.7 million.