Page last updated at 06:39 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 07:39 UK

China car sales continue to soar

Ford showroom in Beijing
The government has a number of measures in place to lift car sales

Car sales in China rose 48% in June from a year ago, boosted by government incentives and the continuing resilience of the country's economy.

Sales hit 872,900 vehicles last month, the biggest increase since February 2006, said the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Chinese car sales are continuing to benefit from cuts in sales tax, and subsidies to trade in older vehicles.

It comes as the wider China economy continues to grow at more than 6%.

The most recent official data showed that the economy expanded at an annual rate of 6.1% in the first three months of 2009, a slight slowdown from 6.8% in the final three months of 2008, against the backdrop of the global recession.

'Proud result'

Domestic Chinese car sales overtook those in the US for the first time in December of last year, and this trend has continued.

While 872,900 cars were sold in China in June, 859,847 were bought in the US.

Global carmakers are now increasingly targeting China as a key growth market.

"It was really hard for our auto industry to achieve such a proud result against a backdrop of general gloom in the international auto industry," said the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, which is authorised by the Chinese government to release the data.

US carmaker General Motors recently reported that its sales in China rose 38% in the first half of this year, while Ford's sales in China increased 14% over the same period.

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