Chinese vehicle sales this year will reach 2.35 million units based on an estimate that growth will be the same as or slightly higher than growth over the last two years, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said.

Sales could reach a maximum of 2.4 million if based on the estimate that output and sales in the second half of the year will be higher than that in the first half, a recent report said.

The State Economic and Trade Commission recently published its 10th five-year plan (2001 to 2005) for the vehicle industry and estimates that China's vehicle output will reach 3.2 million by 2005, including 1.1 million saloons.

China plans to turn the vehicle sector into a backbone industry of the national economy by 2010, the report said.

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