Market leading GM-SAIC joint venture recently launched the redesigned Chevrolet Cruze in China ahead of any other market

Market leading GM-SAIC joint venture recently launched the redesigned Chevrolet Cruze in China ahead of any other market

Sales of new light passenger vehicles in mainland China rose by 9.4% to 1.87m units in March, based on wholesale delivery data collected by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

First quarter sales increased by 9.2% year on year to 5.3m units, after full year 2014 sales rose by 9.9% to 19.7m units, excluding commercial vehicles.

The Chinese market last month was driven higher by strong demand for SUVs, sales of which increased by close to 49%, while sales of passenger car sales declined by 0.4%.

The association noted domestic automakers increased their share of the passenger vehicle market by 4.2 percentage points to 43.2%, with 819,200 sales.

Combined sales of General Motors and its local joint ventures, including SAIC-GM-Wuling (SGMW), Shanghai-GM and Chevrolet, rose by 8% year on year to a record 338,850 units in March.

Ford's monthly sales passed the 100,000 mark for the first time, following a 28% year on year rise to 103,815 units.

Nissan Motor sales, including commercial vehicles, dropped by 5.4% to 109,600 however, reflecting weak demand for light commercial vehicles. 

Toyota’s sales also dropped sharply last month, by almost 21% to 71,500 units, which the company blamed on strong competition and fierce discounting from rivals such as Honda, which reported a 14.7% rise in sales to 68,720 units.