Page last updated at 12:29 GMT, Monday, 11 January 2010

China car sales 'overtook the US' in 2009

China's cars clogging a road
Chinese car sales rose by more than 50% last year

China has said it overtook the United States to become the world's biggest car and van market in 2009.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said 13.6 million vehicles were sold within the country last year.

That compares with just over 10 million vehicles in the US, which was previously the world's largest market.

Unlike the US, China's figures include heavy trucks, but they added just 650,000 to the total.

That meant China was still comfortably ahead in terms of private car sales, which were 53% higher than in 2008.

The top three companies in terms of sales are all joint ventures with the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.

SAIC-GM-Wuling sold just short of one million vehicles, Shanghai Volkswagen sold 728,200 while another SAIC-GM tie-up, Shanghai GM, accounted for 708,000 sales.

Part of the rise was due to moves by the government to stimulate demand. These included cuts in sales tax for small cars.

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