SAIC Motor, China's biggest automaker, said on Monday its vehicle sales in 2009 rose 57% to 2.72m units.

Its passenger car sales last year rose 57% to 1.6m units, with commercial vehicle sales up 58% to 1.12m units.

Figures due later this week are expected to show Chinese auto sales soared 44% to 13.5m units in 2009, according to the average forecast of five analysts polled by Reuters.

Light vehicle sales, mainly passenger cars, are expected to have topped 12.75m units, well ahead of a four-decade low of 10.3m in the United States, according to recent forecasts from JD Power's Asia Pacific division.

The huge jump for China came as the government in Beijing rolled out a number of incentives to boost sales as part of its 4 trillion yuan (US$586bn) stimulus package during the global downturn.

"This is really an extraordinary year for Chinese automakers, but they still have a long way to go to become a truly global player," Boni Sa, an analyst with industry consultancy CSM Worldwide, told the news agency.

Executives and observers have said they expect the market to return to a normal but solid growth rate of 10-15% in 2010 given the much larger comparative basis in 2009.

GM China said on Monday its 2009 sales soared almost 67% to 1.8m units.

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

• Auto component fitment forecasts
• OEM & tier 1 profiles & factory finder
• Analysis of 30+ auto technologies & more