SAIC Motor , China’s largest domestic automaker, expects first half sales to increase to over 1.65m vehicles from 1.23m a year earlier, company president Chen Hong said.

SAIC , which has JVs with General Motors and Volkswagen , forecasts 2010 sales of 3m units but Chen added that China’s vehicle sales may contract in the fourth quarter, with full-year volume of 15.5m units, China Daily reported.

“It’s hard to foresee significant growth in the fourth quarter,” John Zeng, an IHS Global Insight analyst, said. “Growth in the second half will be poorer than in the first as car sales reached peak volume in third and fourth quarters last year.” Comparison with the high base in 2009, growth is bound to slow, he said.