SAIC Motor Corp, China's biggest automaker, sold 33.7 percent more vehicles in April than a year earlier, as policy incentives continue to bolster automobile demand in the world's largest auto market.
SAIC, which runs vehicle manufacturing ventures with General Motors and Volkswagen, sold 305,634 units in April, it said in a statement to the Shanghai stock exchange.
The figures underscore how SAIC continues to benefit from Beijing's stimulus measures, including tax incentives for small cars.
However, April's growth slowed from 58 percent in March, underscoring the likely deceleration in sales growth in the months ahead, as the explosive expansion in the last three quarters of 2009 makes for a higher base of comparison with last year.
In the first four months of the year, SAIC and all its ventures sold 1,197,453 units, up 54.8 percent from a year earlier.
Sales at its car venture with GM jumped 62.1 percent to 89,562 units in April. Sales of SAIC-GM-Wuling, which mostly makes Wuling brand mini vans and pickup trucks, grew 19.4 percent to 114,101 units, it said.
Shanghai Volkswagen, another major sales contributor, moved 72,922 cars in April, up 25.4 percent, it added, slower than the 48 percent annual growth for the first four months.
SAIC is one of the few Chinese automakers that has made some inroads into the lucrative medium-to-higher end segment now dominated by GM, Volkswagen, Toyota Motor and the likes.
Recognizing that it is unlikely to repeat last year's 57 percent sales growth, SAIC aims for its overall vehicle sales to exceed 3 million units this year, up from 2.73 million units in 2009, company executives have said.
China, which eclipsed the United States as the world's biggest auto market last year, has been a major bright spot thanks to Beijing's stimulus measures, which have significantly bolstered consumer confidence across the board.
Despite a scaling back of the tax incentives for small cars, effective from the beginning of this year, vehicle sales continue to surge. Industry observers expect nationwide sales to grow around 15-20 percent this year.
Dongfeng Motor Group, which makes cars in tie-ups with Honda Motor, Nissan Motor and PSA Peugeot-Citroen, sold 179,586 vehicles in April, up 48.8 percent from a year earlier, with sales in the first four months up 69 percent at 650,216 units.
Ford Motor's car venture in China sold 26,598 units in April, up 37.6 percent. The No. 2 U.S. automaker makes Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo and Mazda cars in a tieup with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co and Japan's Mazda Motor.
(Reporting by Fang Yan and Jason Subler; Editing by David Fox)