New vehicle sales in China rose by 2.5% year on year to 1.98m units in September, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). 

The market was driven by a 6.4% rise in light passenger vehicle sales to 1.69m units, which more than offset a sharp 16% decline in commercial vehicle sales to 290,000 units.

Cumulative nine-month vehicle sales increased by 7% to 16.9m units, from 15.0m units in the same period of last year. Commercial vehicle sales have weakened significantly over the last few months, with passenger car sales continuing to lead the market higher. 

CAAM now expects full year sales to expand by 8.3% to 23.81m units in 2014, from 21.98m units in 2013.

In September, German brands claimed a combined 19.8% of the total market, followed by the Japanese with 14.9%, US 13.6% and South Korean 9% and French 3.9%.

GM and its local partners reported a 15.2% rise in sales of GM-branded vehicles to 319,936 vehicles in September. Volkswagen is yet to report its September sales, although Audi’s sales increased by 13.4% to 51,614 units.

Toyota’s local joint ventures enjoyed a 26% rise in combined sales to 91,100 units last month, while Ford’s local operations reported flat sales of 95,875 vehicles, after strong growth throughout 2014. 

By contrast, Nissan reported a 20% sales decline to 93,700 units, citing weak overall demand for commercial vehicles, while Honda struggled to keep up with the competition as sales continued to fall - by over 23% to 56,880 units.