Ten-year-old Chinese vehicle manufacturer Chery has announced that it has sold more than 500 000 cars in a calendar year for the first time in 2009.
This was aided by record monthly sales of 63 967 units in December.
Chery says it achieved a 40,5% growth in annual sales in 2009 compared with 2008's 356 000 units.
The bite-size Chery QQ was the brand's best-selling model, with 168 554 units sold, which was an increase of 26,4% over 2008.
The J5, J3 and Cowin sold a combined total of 198 242 units, which amounted to 39,6% of Chery's total sales.
Sales of the Tiggo sports utility vehicle reached less than 7 000 units a month.
Chery's Tiggo, QQ3, J5 and J1 models are also sold in South Africa.
Chery sold 3 571 vehicles in South Africa from May 2008 to October 2009.
Chery cars are currently sold in more than 80 countries worldwide, and the company has 15 factories outside China as it targets markets in Asia, Europe, Africa, Central and South America as part of global expansion drive.
In 2008 Chery exported 50 000 vehicles worldwide, compared with 135 000 units in 2009.
While being exposed to deteriorating economic conditions abroad, it is clear the local market continued to boom in 2009.
The China new vehicle market popped the cork on 2009 with sales up a massive 46% compared with 2008, to reach 13,6-million units.
Compare this to the US, where 2009 sales fell 21% to reach 10,4-million units - the worst level since 1982.
This meant the US market was placed second place in terms of global vehicle sales in 2009, dropping from the pole position it had held for a hundred years.
The shift in position came as China shrugged off the recession and continued on its economic growth path, while the credit crunch impacted heavily on US consumers.
Both countries - similar to Europe - used incentive schemes to keep sales from stalling completely.