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China to increase car imports

China is likely to import 300,000 vehicles this year, 30% up on 2007, according to a forecast issued by the China Trading Center for Automobile Import (CTCAI).

Imported vehicle numbers stood at 277,093 units in China, up 37.6% year on year, by the end of November 2007. Cars with engines over 2.5 litres accounted for 69.4% of total car imports.

SUVs were likely to overtake saloons for the first time to become the most popular imported cars, according to the CTCAI, after rising by 65% to 126,659 units in the first 11 months.

Japan, Germany, the Republic of Korea and the US were the major source countries for China's car imports.

Forty-two percent of saloons were imported from Germany and 48% of SUVs from Japan. In 2006, China overtook Japan to become the world's second largest car market second only to the United States, with sales of 7.2 million units, up 25.13% year-on-year. China was also the world's third largest vehicle producer, after Japan and the United States.

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