China's passenger car sales rose 8.1% last month but full year sales growth fell to 7.4% in 2008, the China Passenger Car Association said.

Growth had been about 20% in the previous two years.

Last year saw 6.43m car sales, while last month's tally was 644,028, the association told Reuters.

Various industry groups have released results but official data is not out till next week.

The association had reported a 7.6% drop in passenger car sales in November, and had predicted another drop in December, the report noted.