China exported 1m vehicles in a calendar year for the first time ever in 2012.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said shipments rose 30% to 1.06m units last year while domestic car sales increased 4%. Exports of passenger cars jumped 39% to 661,000 units, buses and trucks climbed 17% to 395,000 units.

Chery was the top exporter with exports totalling 184,800 units, up 16% from a year earlier. Next came Geely with 100,800 units, followed by Great Wall, 96,500. Algeria was the biggest buyer, followed by Russia, Iraq, Iran and Chile.

China's car exports are growing at the fastest rate in the world. The country has achieved the 1m milestone just 11 years after it began exporting cars. Korea achieved the feat in 1995, 19 years after Hyundai Motor first sold its Pony model in Latin America.