China is the biggest vehicle market in the world, end-of-year sales figures have confimed.
China sold more than 13.5m vehicles last year, compared with 10.4m sold in the previous largest car market, the US. The China figures includes 650,000 heavy trucks, while the US figures include cars and light trucks only.
However, China faces a battle to hold its position - US sales were the lowest for 27 years and 21 per cent down year-on-year, whereas China's market grew 45 per cent year-on-year, boosted by government incentives that are not set to continue indefinitely.
China's government cut sales taxes on smaller, fuel-efficient cars and spent $730m (£450m) on subsidies for buyers of larger cars, pickup trucks and minivans.
However, analysts suggest China's market could grow by another 20 per cent in the long-term, as long as China's economic recovery continued and oil prices remained stable.