General Motors is planning on growth outpacing China's car market in 2010, its China unit head said on Wednesday, after the automaker outperformed the country's overall market in the first three quarters of 2009.

GM sold 55.6% more vehicles in China from January to September, beating a 34.24% rise in the overall market.

"Next year we will again try to grow a little faster than the market's growth," said GM China president and managing director Kevin Wale, an Australian native who previously headed Vauxhall in the UK.

Wale said the automaker may sell over 1.6m vehicles in China this year, in line with his earlier forecast of more than 40% annual growth, Reuters reported. GM sold 1.09m vehicles in China last year.

Some industry observers have suggested Chinese car sales could grow more slowly after government incentives, including aggressive cuts in sales taxes on small cars, expire at the end of this year.

That view was, however, not echoed on Tuesday by Wale's boss, GM CEO Fritz Henderson who said, during a visit to China, that he expected the emerging market, which has shown strong growth in recent months, to grow at a significant pace in the future.

Wale, too is optimistic in his outlook for China, where the new vehicle market overtook that of the United States as the world's biggest in January. According to Reuters, he believes Beijing will come up with additional steps to support the industry, a major contributor to the country's economy.

"We expect sales to continue to grow next year. We are confident the government will take appropriate action to continue stability in the market," he said, adding that demand in smaller cities would also ensure some growth momentum.