Ford Motor Co said its China vehicle sales in the third quarter jumped 79 percent from a year earlier as Beijing's stimulus policies bolstered auto demand.

Ford, which broke ground for its $490 million third China plant in September, sold a record of 119,338 vehicles in the country in the three-month period, it said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Sales came to 316,639 units in the first nine months, up 32 percent from a year earlier.

Changan Ford Mazda, a tie-up with Chongqing Changan Auto Co and Mazda Motor, sold 227,839 cars in the first nine months, up 43 percent from a year earlier.

Sales of its all new Fiesta compact car came to 32,178 units since its launch in March, while September sales of its mid-range Focus sedan surged 72 percent to an all-time monthly record of 13,891, it said.

Jiangling Motors Corp Ltd, a commercial vehicle maker partly owned by Ford, sold a record of 82,718 vehicles in the first three quarters, including 23,520 Ford Transit models, it said, without providing comparative figures.

China's auto market, the biggest in the world, is a major bright spot this year helped by government incentive policies.

Volkswagen sold 1.06 million vehicles in China and Hong Kong from January to September, up 37 percent from a year earlier. GM's China sales rose 55.6 percent to 1.29 million during the period.

(Reporting by Fang Yan and Jacqueline Wong)