Ford Motor's China car venture sold 316,139 units in 2009, up 54.5 percent from a year earlier, its Chinese partner said on Tuesday.

In December alone, Changan Ford Mazda, a tie-up between Ford, Chongqing Changan Auto Co <000625.SZ> and Mazda Motor <7261.T>, sold 27,680 cars, up 61.4 percent from a year earlier, Changan Auto said in a statement.

China, the world's largest auto market, is the major bright spot amid a global industry downturn thanks to Beijing's stimulus measures, which have effectively bolstered consumer confidence.

Overall sales by Changan Auto, a subsidiary of China's third-largest state auto group, came to 1.37 million units in 2009, up 64.1 percent from 2008, the company said.

SAIC Motor Corp <600104.SS>, Changan Auto's domestic rival and China's biggest automaker, sold 2.72 million vehicles in 2009, up 57 percent from a year earlier.

SAIC is a manufacturing partner of General Motors and Volkswagen AG .

(Reporting by Fang Yan and Jason Subler; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)