China's fledgling auto industry maintained strong momentum in the first half of the year, with both vehicle output and sales rising more than 20 percent.
About 4.46 million vehicles were produced in the first six months, up 22.4 percent on the same period last year, while vehicle sales rose 23.3 percent to 4.37 million, according to figures from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).
Output and sales are both expected to hit a record 8.5 million this year, said analysts.
Last year China became the world's second largest market for new vehicles after the United States, with an annual output of 7.28 million and sales of 7.22 million.
In the first half, 3.15 million passenger cars and 1.31 million commercial vehicles left the factory floor.
The top ten sellers - including Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corp. (SAIC), Jilin-based First Automobile Works (FAW) and Hubei-based Dongfeng Motors - sold a total of 3.63 million vehicles, taking an 83 percent market share.
Chery Automobile and Geely Group were the seventh and ninth largest automakers in terms of sales.
(Xinhua News Agency July 11, 2007)