GM has said it sold 101,926 vehicles in China in January, the first time it has topped the 100,000 level in a single month.

Sales from its joint venture with SAIC in Shanghai totalled 40,570 units, while sales by its commercial vehicle venture in Shenyang reached 61,200 units.

The result puts GM firmly on course to sell 1.2m cars in China this year. It sold 876,747 vehicles in China last year, up 31.8% from 2005.

China is becoming the most important profit centre for GM and it expects to export more cars from China this year. Last year 5,000 GM China-made cars went to Chile and Russia and the latter has been identified as one of 11 target markets in the world where GM can and should do well.

Chinese cars have been shipped there to either extend the local range or meet delivery shortages.

Read our exclusive interview with GM Asia Pacific head Nick Reilly here