Sales of Chinese-made cars picked up in January, buoyed by government policies to boost the auto industry, according to data released from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).
 
However, sales were still 7.8% down on 2008.
 
CAAM put January sales of China-made passenger cars at 610,600 units, 4.4% ahead of December's total.
 
Zhu Yiping, associate secretary with the CAAM, said government stimulus policies for auto industry helped lift sales of China-made passenger cars.

Cars with engine displacement below 1.6 litres stood out, with a month-on-month rise in both output and sales because of the tax incentives, he said.
 
January saw output of China-made autos at 658,800 units, up 5.07% from the previous month and down 20.22% from the same month a year earlier.
 
January sales in China were also underpinned by manufacturers' price cuts ahead of the lunar new year, a traditional high spot for consumption in China (it occurred in January this year and fell in February in 2008).

Shanghai Volkswagen led China car sales in January with sales hitting 40,000 units.

The top ten Chinese carmakers in terms of sales in January were Shanghai Volkswagen, FAW Volkswagen, Shanghai GM, Beijing Hyundai, Dongfeng Nissan, Chery, Guangzhou Honda, Geely, FAW Toyota and BYD, with sales of 40,000 units, 38,800 units, 32,700 units, 32,600 units, 26,300 units, 25,300 units, 21,600 units, 20,400 units, 19,200 units and 18,600 units, respectively.