Chinese carmaker Chery sold 44,568 vehicles in March to become the first domestic brand to top China's monthly vehicle sales since 1987.
It was also the first month in which theAnhui
-based company, which develops and produces cars with homegrown brands, sold more than 40,000 cars.
Second was Sino-U.S. joint ventureShanghaiGM, which recorded monthly sales of 40,071 vehicles.
Two Sino-German joint ventures -- Shanghai Volkswagen and FAW Volkswagen -- followed, with sales of 38,627 vehicles and 37,016 vehicles respectively.
The four best sellers held more than one third of China's car market in March.
Meanwhile, Chery said it sold 10,019 vehicles abroad last month, more than any other Chinese carmakers, and its exports would reach 14,000 vehicles in April.
The company had plans to increase its exports to 70,000 to 100,000 vehicles this year, encouraged by last year's exports of 50,000 vehicles, which was up 178 percent over the pervious year.
As the monthly sales figures came out, Chery announced another round of price cutting, lopping 2,000 yuan to 23,000 yuan (256.4 U.S. dollars to 2,948.7 U.S. dollars) from the price tags off 16 models in five series -- QQ 3, QQ 6, Cowin, A 5 and Eastar.
In a scramble for market share with Chery, FAW Volkswagen and Shanghai GM slashed prices around the Spring Festival holiday, said analysts.
Chery sold 37,207 vehicles in January, second only to the 40,570 sold by Shanghai GM, when the indigenous carmaker achieved the second highest monthly car sales in China for the first time.
The company, with an ambition to be the "king of compact cars", became China's seventh largest automaker and fourth largest producer of sedans in 2006, with sales of 305,200 vehicles, including 272,400 sedan cars. It also produces MPVs and SUVs.
To maintain the position, Chery's "conservative goal" for 2007 was to raise its sales by 10,000 units, said Yin Tongyao, chairman and general manager of Chery.
The company has the ambition to attain sales of 500,000 vehicles this year.
Chery, established in 1997, produced its 800,000th car at the beginning of March this year to become the country's first indigenous carmaker to reach the milestone. It is likely to produce its one millionth car in July.
FAW Volkswagen took 13 years to produce one million cars after being set up in 1991, while Shanghai GM, founded in 1997, made its one millionth car in 2005.
China's first Sino-foreign joint venture carmaker Shanghai Volkswagen, established in 1985, produced its three millionth car in 2005.