AFP - General Motors China said vehicle sales in the world's most populous nation were up 38 percent year-on-year as the market continued to outpace expectations for growth.
The struggling US automaker and its joint ventures sold more than 800,000 vehicles in China in the first half of 2009.
Sales were boosted by a massive Chinese stimulus programme as well as growing demand in medium-sized cities and rural areas, according to a statement issued by the company.
"China's vehicle market continued to outpace most expectations for growth," GM China Group President Kevin Wale said in the statement.
"The market benefited from stimulus policies adopted by the Chinese government as well as growing demand for personal transportation in tier-three and tier-four cities and rural areas."
GM China's fortunes mark a sharp contrast to its US parent, which has filed for bankruptcy, reflecting the Asian market's growing importance for the global auto industry.
China overtook the United States to become the world's largest car market for the first time in January.
GM's troubles have been further highlighted here in recent weeks after Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co, a little-known Chinese machinery maker, placed a bid to buy its iconic Hummer brand.
Sales from GM's commercial-vehicle joint venture in China with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Group jumped 49.9 percent to 524,598 units while sales from the passenger vehicle joint venture, with Shanghai General Motors Corp, reached 288,843.
GM China said it is optimistic about the outlook for the rest of the year.
"Vehicle sales in China are expected to remain strong in the second half of 2009," Wale said.