BEIJING — China’s auto sales shrank for a third straight month in September, adding to pressure on the country’s leaders who face slowing economic growth and a tariff fight with Washington.

An industry group, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said Friday that sales shrank 12 percent from a year ago to 2 million sedans, SUVs and minivans. Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, shrank 11.6 percent to 2.4 million.

Demand has weakened as Chinese economic growth cools. With the latest contraction, total sales growth for the first nine months of this year was just 0.6 percent compared with the same period of 2017.

Weak demand is a setback for global automakers that look to China to drive revenue and are spending heavily to develop models for local tastes.

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