updated 1/5/2007 7:58:26 AM ET 2007-01-05T12:58:26

Ford Motor Co.'s flagship Chinese joint venture said Friday sales of its Ford-brand automobiles more than doubled last year as China's auto market grew rapidly.

Ford sales in China last year totaled 129,790 units, while December sales set a monthly record of 19,401, said Changan Ford Mazda Co.

China is the world's second-largest auto market after the United States and sales are expanding at double-digit annual rates.

Domestic vehicle sales this year are expected to rise by 15 percent to 8 million after hitting 7 million in 2006, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, an industry group.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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