China passenger car sales rose 23.6 percent in March compared with the same period a year earlier, the biggest monthly rise in seven months, as the market recovered rapidly after the freak winter weather, an industry group said.
Sales reached 700,500 cars last month, up 43.3 percent from February, according to the semi-official China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
First-quarter sales rose 20.4 percent to 1.85 million, including 1.37 million sedans, 55,300 minivans and 101,800 sport-utility vehicles.
Volkswagen AG's two Chinese ventures - FAW Volkswagen and Shanghai Volkswagen - topped the sales list in the first three months, as the German company, Europe's largest car maker, boosted China sales by 32.5 percent to 268,200 vehicles. Shanghai GM, the Detroit-based car maker's venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., sold the third largest amount of cars.
Domestic vehicle production and sales both surged more than 20 percent to a record 8.8 million units last year, in contrast to weakening sales worldwide.
China, the world's second largest car market, produced 6.38 million passenger cars and sold 6.3 million units last year.
(Xinhua News Agency April 9, 2008)