Auto sales in China declined for the first time in two years, falling 0.25% in April to 1.55 million units, Dow Jones reported. The decline is attributed to the disaster in Japan’s effect on the supply chain, the cancellation of government subsidies for car purchases, and rising oil prices. The only remaining incentive for car purchases – a RMB3,000 subsidy for certain small-engine vehicles – is set to end in June. More declines are likely if oil prices remain high. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers General Secretary Dong Yang said yesterday at a news conference that auto sales growth is likely to fall short of previous expectations of 10-15% in 2011, and could underperform the overall national economic growth rate. Passenger vehicle sales, however, continued to post mild growth in April, up 2.79% year-on-year, but sales of Chinese own-brand cars declined 0.19% in the same period.