Auto sales in China slowed slightly over the first half of the year amid rising oil and raw material costs and the disruptive effects of snowstorms and the devastating Sichuan earthquake. But the country still outperformed any other global market and gave hope to the world’s automakers, Xinhua writes.Giant automakers including GM, Ford, Toyota and Honda have reported double-digit turnover growth in China over the first half of the year despite lackluster home markets. China has emerged as the world’s fastest growing auto market, reporting annualized growth of 20% since 2006. Even though China was hit by major snowstorms and a devastating earthquake, auto production grew 16.71% and sales grew 18.52% in the first six months, well above the other major international auto markets. The US, the world’s largest auto market, fell 17% year-on-year in the first half due to soaring oil prices. It is estimated that sales in the country will shrink by two million vehicles this year. US automakers GM

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