Intl auto show opens in N.E. China city

The 15th Harbin International Automobile Exhibition opened in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Monday.

More than 700 new car models were displayed in the auto show, which attracted 472 auto businesses from 12 countries and regions, including Germany, the United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The exhibition, which is to run until Aug 6, features environmental awareness, advanced technology and fashion in the auto industry, the organizers said.

Initiated in 1998, the Harbin International Automobile Exhibition has become an important platform for world's leading automakers to tap the markets of Northeast China, Russia and Eastern Europe.

Auto sales grew 2.9 percent in the first half of 2012 from a year earlier to 9.6 million vehicles in China, statistics from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers show.

The growth rate shows obvious signs of slowing compared with the 3.4-percent gain registered in the same period last year, echoing signs of slowing growth in the wider economy.

But CAAM also said the country's auto sales are likely to hit 20 million units in 2012 if the economy picks up momentum in the second half.

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