China's home-made passenger car sales surged 22.36 percent year on year to nearly 1.54 million units in the first quarter of this year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
The association said sales of saloon cars jumped 30.14 percent to 1.12 million units, multi-purpose vehicles were up 14.89 percent to 53,300 and sports utility vehicles up 15.77 percent to 71,600.
It said passenger car sales in March reached 567,000 units, up 16.13 percent from the same month last year. Sedan sales stood at 409,400 units in March, nearing the record monthly high of last December.
Shanghai General Motors was the top seller with 104,800 saloon cars sold in the first three months, followed by Shanghai Volkswagen and FAW Volkswagen.
Meanwhile, the local automaker Chery sold 89,600 cars, ranking the fourth in terms of sales.
Santana was the top selling model with 49,600 units sold, followed by Excelle, Jetta, Camery and home brands Xiali and QQ, according to the association.
Analysts said car sales in China will continue to enjoy robust growth in the coming years as boosted by the country's rapid growing economy and household incomes.
Jiang Lei, deputy chief of the association, earlier forecasted car sales in China is expected to grow 15 percent to hit 8 million units this year.
China has overtook Japan in 2006 to become the world's second largest market for new vehicles only after the United States with new vehicles sales soaring 25.13 percent to 7.22 million units.
(Xinhua News Agency April 9, 2007)