GM says China sales hit record high for April

US auto giant General Motors said Monday that it saw record sales in China in April, despite a broader slowdown in the world's biggest car market.

GM sold 227,217 vehicles in April, up 11.7 percent from the same month last year, it said in a statement. GM also registered a sales record for the month of March.

For the first four months of the year, GM's China sales rose 9.4 percent year-on-year to 972,369 units.

GM China Group president Kevin Wale said sales would top a million in May, the earliest it has reached landmark figure in China.

"It has put us on track to once again set a new sales mark for the year as a whole," Wale said in the statement.

GM sold more than 2.5 million vehicles in China last year.

Foreign car makers such as GM have been able to ride out an overall slowdown in China's auto market, the world's largest since 2009, helped by name recognition and perceptions of higher quality.

China's nationwide sales rose just 2.5 percent to 18.51 million units in 2011, compared with an annual increase of more than 32 percent in 2010.

The slowdown came after the government rolled back purchasing incentives and some cities imposed tighter restrictions on car numbers to ease chronic traffic congestion and pollution.

Vehicle sales in China fell 3.4 percent year-on-year to 4.79 million units in the first three months of this year, according to an industry group.

But many of the world's carmakers remain confident of steady growth in the Asian nation, where three out of every four new car purchases are by first-time buyers.

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