General Motors Co. saw a 30.4 percent year-over-year jump in Chinese sales of passenger cars in February, a record-setting month for the United States automaker. Sales rose primarily due to the absence of the Lunar New Year holiday, which fell at the beginning of the month last year.

Still, sales flew up across the board for GM and its joint ventures, and February marked the third-highest sales month in GM's history in China. In all, GM sold 240,554 cars and trucks in China in February. Shanghai GM's domestic sales jumped 31.8 percent. SAIC-GM's sales rose 28.7 percent. and FAW-GM's sales were up 39.2 percent.

Strong Buick sales led the charge for GM. Sales of Buick vehicles jumped 31.1 percent, also a monthly record. Meanwhile, Chevrolet sales grew 23.7 percent for the year-over-year period, also to an all-time February high of more than 50,000 units. The Cruze continues to be popular across markets, as sales rose 36.1 percent to more than 20,000 units. Finally, Cadillac brand sales jumped 6.6 percent, also a February record for the luxury brand in China.

The strong sales continue the record pace for GM in China sales. In the first two months of 2012, GM and its joint ventures have sold nearly 500,000 cars in China already, which marks an increase of 7.7 percent from last year's first two months.

The sales also continue the good sales news for the U.S. automaker, which announced domestic sales last week that rose 1.1 percent compared with the year-ago period. This shocked many analysts, who expected GM to fall off an incentive-laden first two months of 2011. But GM has cut incentives and still managed to increase sales in the United States.

GM's number was the most surprising for us, said Jesse Toprak, the vice president of industry insights and trends at It does show that the consumer demand for GM vehicles is strong and healthy. They're selling cars without spending as much in incentives.