The growth of China's car market will be driven primarily by exports this year because domestic sales have slowed dramatically, state media reported on Monday.
China -- the world's largest car market -- sold 614,000 cars abroad in the first nine months of 2011, a 60 percent rise on the same period last year, the China Business News daily said.
"The export market has this year become the main driver of growth for car sales in China," it said, forecasting sales for the year would reach 800,000.
China overtook the United States in 2009 to become the world's largest car market, but the sector has since lost some steam after the government phased out most sales incentives ushered in to ward off the worldwide economic downturn.
In the first nine months of this year, manufacturers sold 13.6 million cars in China -- just 3.6 percent more than in the same period a year earlier.
Industry forecasts put growth for the full year at around five percent over last year, well down from a 32 percent year-over-year growth rate in 2010.
China said last week its economic growth had slowed to 9.1 percent in the third quarter, the lowest rate in two years, as government efforts to tame inflation and turbulence in Europe and the United States curbed activity.