SAIC Motor on Friday said its first-quarter net profit more than quadrupled from a year earlier as Chinese government incentives continued to drive up vehicle sales.

The nation’s largest automaker by sales sold over 890,000 vehicles in the first quarter, up 63% year on year, news agency AFP reported, citing an SAIC statement filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

SAIC, which has joint ventures with General Motors and Volkswagen, did not give specific figures for first-quarter earnings in its preliminary announcement. The company is scheduled to release its results on 29 April.

It booked a net profit of CNY626.9m (US$91.8m) in the first quarter of 2009.

China’s auto sales soared to 13.64m units in 2009 on government policy incentives, outstripping those of the United States for the first time in January last year to make the Asian giant the world’s biggest market.

These measures included slashing taxes on cars with engines smaller than 1.6 litres and subsidising clean-technology vehicles.

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