Sales of China’s domestically made cars rose 36.5% year on year in June, another sign that government stimulus measures were driving the sector’s recovery, state media said on Thursday.

Chinese car makers and their joint ventures with foreign partners sold more than 1.1m units in June, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), according to AFP.

In the first six months of the year, car sales increased by 17.7% from the same period in 2008 to 6.1m units, while output jumped 15.2% to 6m units, both new historic half-year highs, it said.

June marked the fourth consecutive month that car sales topped 1.1m units, CAAM said.

The government’s revitalisation plan for the car industry, signs of a recovery in the general economy and the return of consumer confidence helped the sector, Zhu Yiping, CAAM’s assistant secretary general, said, according to the reports.

“The global financial crisis had some short-term impact on the domestic auto market. But it did not change the industry’s fast development trend,” she said.

China’s total car sales outstripped the United States to become the world’s largest car market for the first time in January, helped by Beijing’s incentives to stimulate domestic consumption.

These measures included slashing purchase taxes on cars with engines smaller than 1.6 litres and subsidising alternative energy vehicles.

CAAM predicted that full-year car sales in 2009 would exceed 11m units, higher than the 10.2m estimate made at the beginning of the year, Xinhua said.

Last year, sales of vehicles in China rose about 8% to 9.4m units – a modest growth rate by Chinese standards as demand was hit by the global downturn.

“It is hard to say exactly how long the boom will last, but double-digit growth in overall car sales this year is certainly achievable,” said Chen Qiaoning, an industry analyst with ABN AMRO TEDA Fund Management told Reuters.