BEIJING -- Auto sales in China, the world's biggest car market, accelerated in July, growing 6.7% to 1.62 million vehicles, an industry group said Friday.
For the first seven months of 2014, auto sales reached 13.30 million vehicles, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said, up 8.2% on the same period last year.
China has become critically important to foreign carmakers, given the size of the market and weak sales elsewhere in the world.
China's full-year auto sales hit 21.98 million vehicles last year, when a recovery in Japanese brands offset the impact of slowing economic growth.
General Motors (IW 500/5) said Wednesday that its sales increased 12.7% in July from the same period last year to 249,734 vehicles.
GM's China sales also rose 10.7% to 1.98 million vehicles in the first seven months of the year, the company said.
It also said that on Wednesday its annual sales in China, its biggest market, had reached two million vehicles for this year. That marked "the fifth consecutive year and the earliest ever that GM has reached the milestone", it said.
"We will continue to expand our portfolio and introduce more product offerings in China to meet increasingly diverse demand in our largest market," GM China president Matt Tsien said.
Ford's (IW 500/6) China sales, meanwhile, rose 25% to 90,775 vehicles in July from the same month last year, the company said Friday.
In the first seven months, sales rose 33% from the same period last year, Ford said. Its China sales increased 33% to 640,031 vehicles.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014