Vehicle sales on the mainland in the first 11 months of the year have surpassed this year's target of 12 million units, according to the latest official figures. Last month's sales reached 1.35 million units, up from 685,000 a year earlier. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said the country's total sales would exceed 13 million units by the end of the year. With sales in the United States and Europe suffering from the global slump, China is set to become the world's largest car market this year. Market watchers expect the US to record total sales of about 11.5 million units and predict that the market will not pick up again until 2011 at the earliest. Earlier this year, Beijing announced measures to boost the car industry, including a cut in consumption tax for cars with engines 1.6 litres or below and subsidies of up to 5,000 yuan (HK$5,674) to villagers for buying a 30,000 to 40,000 yuan car. The Ministry of Commerce said the government would continue to bolster domestic consumption next year. Ministry official Chang Xiaocun added that Beijing would probably retain existing stimulus measures for the car industry. The mainland has recorded year-on-year vehicle sales growth of more than 30 per cent since April. A report by China International Capital Corp said the developing car financing sector would allow households to buy cars on instalments, pointing to continued strong growth in sales in the next three to five years. Mainland sales for Daimler, which has a joint venture with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding, rose 224 per cent to a monthly record of 8,500 units last month. Sales in the first 11 months rose 68 per cent to 59,200. For BMW, the world's biggest luxury carmaker, sales rose 39.7 per cent to 8,470 vehicles last month. General Motors Corp said last week it sold a record 177,339 vehicles last month with joint-venture partner SAIC Motor Corp, up 109.5 per cent from last year. In the first 11 months, it sold 1.64 million units, up 64 per cent. Changan Ford, the joint venture of Chongqing Changan Automobile and Ford Motor, sold 22,738 Ford-brand vehicles last month, up 152 per cent. A total of 210,982 units were sold in the first 11 months. Separately, the Associated Press reported that the National Basketball Association and its joint-venture partners in China announced yesterday Daimler had won naming rights to a new stadium under construction at Shanghai's World Expo site. The 18,000-seat, clam-shaped arena is one of a dozen planned by the NBA for China. The naming rights would last 10 years, the companies said.