January 6, 2016 / 5:29 AM / 3 years ago

GM China auto sales rise 5.2 percent in 2015

An aerial picture shows new Chevrolet cars at a General Motors' parking lot in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China, June 28, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - General Motors Co’s (GM.N) vehicle sales in China rose 5.2 percent to 3.61 million in 2015, the U.S. carmaker said on Wednesday.

GM and its Chinese joint venture partners sold 445,227 vehicles last month, a 14 percent rise from a year earlier, matching its growth rate for November.

The automaker plans to launch 13 new or revamped models in China in 2016, including the Cadillac CT6, Malibu XL and Cruze XL, compared with 12 launches last year, according to a written statement posted on its website.

GM recorded several months of decreasing sales in mid-2015, as China’s economy expanded at its slowest pace in 25 years and the stock market slumped, before sales rebounded strongly in October after the Chinese government cut taxes on small-engine cars.

GM, which has China joint ventures with SAIC Motor Corp Ltd (600104.SS), Wuling Motors Holdings Ltd (0305.HK) and others, did not issue a sales target for 2016.

Analysts say that the tax cut for cars with engines of 1.6 liters or less will drive a continued rebound in China’s auto market until it expires at the end of 2016 but will undercut longer term growth.

The world’s largest auto market is expected to have grown 3 percent in 2015, with the chief of China’s automakers association forecasting 5-7 percent growth for 2016.

Reporting by Jake Spring; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Anand Basu

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