China's auto market, which overtook the United States as the world's largest last year thanks to a raft of policy incentives, has been a major bright spot amid a global industry downturn.

Automakers around the world are showing off their latest products and technology that cater to the need of customers in China at the Beijing Auto Show, which opens this week.

Following are some key facts about China's auto industry.


In 2009, a total of 10.3 million passenger cars were sold in the country, up 52.9 percent from a year earlier, data provided by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed.

Overall vehicle sales in the country came to a record 13.6 million units in 2009, well above the country's previous target of 10 million units. [ID:nTOE60A053]

Sales of domestic branded models accounted for roughly 30 percent of total passenger vehicle sales during the period. The remainder are either made by joint ventures between foreign firms and their Chinese partners, or imported from overseas.


SAIC-GM-Wuling led the market with 976,800 vehicles sold in 2009. The firm is a joint venture between General Motors, SAIC Motor Corp, China's largest car maker, and Liuzhou Wuling Automobile.

Shanghai Volkswagen, a joint venture between Volkswagen AG and SAIC, followed with total sales of 728,200 units.

Shanghai GM, General Motors' joint venture with SAIC sold 708,400 units during the year, ranking third.


BYD's F3 sedan was the best selling car in China for the year. The Shenzhen-based battery and car maker, which is 10 percent owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, sold 291,000 units of F3 in the period.

A total of 241,100 units of Buick Excelle were sold by Shanghai GM, making it the champion among foreign brands.


QQ, a compact sedan made by Chery Automobile, China's largest indigenous car maker, sells for 33,800 yuan ($4,951) for its basic 0.8-Litre model.



Nissan Motor aims to sell 600,000 cars in China in 2010, up from expected sales of 517,000 in 2009. Its joint venture in China aims to sell 1 million cars, trucks and buses this year, up 10.5 percent from 2009 and well ahead of a plan to reach that milestone by 2012.


Toyota Motor's China sales growth is expected to slow down to about 14 percent this year from 17 percent in 2009, with a target of selling 800,000 vehicles in China. It sold 700,000 units in 2009.


Ford Motor Co expects to outperform the industry-wide sales growth in 2010, which is seen at 8 percent. The U.S. automaker sold 440,619 units in China last year, up 44 percent from the previous year.


BYD aims to sell 800,000 vehicles next year, up from a previous target of 700,000 units. It sold 400,000 vehicles in 2009.



Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, China's largest private automaker, signed a definitive agreement in March to buy Ford's Volvo car unit for $1.8 billion. Both Geely and Ford had said they hoped to complete the deal in the third quarter.


BAIC bought the intellectual property for several Saab models from General Motors for $200 million. The the acquisition is believed to cut short BAIC's vehicle development plan by four to five years.


Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co, a little-known Chinese machinery maker, surprised investors and industry executives alike by unveiling a tentative plan in June to take over Hummer from General Motors.

The deal, however, ultimately fell apart earlier this year for a lack of regulatory approval. (Reporting by Michael Wei; Editing by Lincoln Feast)