Vehicle sales and production in China dropped by double-digit figures in July month-on-month, an industry association reported, in a decline attributed mainly to power shortages and hot weather.

According to the Associated Press (AP), the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported that vehicle output in July totaled 444,900 units, down 10.7% from June. It said sales of domestically made vehicles dropped 16% to 433,200 units.

Compared with the same month a year earlier, however, output was up 25.6% and sales rose 25.2%, the auto association reportedly said.

Hot weather and reduced factory hours due to electricity shortages were a key factor behind the monthly decline, the association told the Associated Press.

China's five biggest automakers - First Automotive Works Corp., Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC), Dongfeng Motor Corp., Chang'an Motor Corp. and Beijing Automotive Industry Corp. - reported lower sales in July compared with June, the report said.

Sales by Chang'an, a Ford and Suzuki partner, fell the most: 46.7%, to 38,200 vehicles, AP noted.

The news agency said annual sales this year in China are expected to grow 10%, compared with 15% growth in 2004 and 75% growth in 2003.

In the first seven months of the year, sales of Chinese made cars totalled 3.22 million units, up 11.3% from the same period a year earlier, while sales of all passenger vehicles rose 14% to 2.16 million units, the industry association told the Associated Press.