Car sales dropped 1.25 per cent to 3.77 million units on the mainland in the first quarter although the fall narrowed from the first two months, according to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers yesterday. Sales rose 4.54 per cent to 1.4 million units last month, as dealers offered more discounts to boost sales. The rebound came after deliveries dropped 4.4 per cent in January and February - the worst two-month start to a year since 2005. Figures for the two months are always read together to avoid distortion caused by the timing of the Lunar New Year holiday. Sport-utility vehicles remained the best sellers last month, with sales rising 30 per cent year on year. However, commercial passenger vehicles were the worst performers - sales dipped 11 per cent because of slowing economic growth. Local brands continued to lose market share, although a number of new marques planned by the numerous joint ventures between foreign and mainland carmakers for the next few years may lift sales. Meanwhile, luxury carmaker BMW sold more cars in China than in the United States for the first time in the three months to March. Sales under BMW and the Mini brands grew 37 per cent to 80,014 units in China, exceeding those in the US by nearly 4,300 units.