China auto sales shrink in December, end year up 1.4 percent

BEIJING (AP) — An industry group says China's auto sales shrank in December and ended 2017 up just 1.4 percent over the previous year as the popularity of SUVs helped to offset contraction in demand for sedans.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Friday said last month's sales of SUVs, sedans and minivans shrank by 0.7 percent from a year earlier to 2.6 million. Total vehicle sales including trucks and buses edged up 0.1 percent to just over 3 million.

Weakness in Chinese demand is a setback for global automakers that look to China to drive future revenue at a time when Beijing is pressing companies to pour resources into developing electric vehicles.