Beijing - An industry group says China's auto sales rose 15.7 percent last year to 17.9 million vehicles after strong demand in December.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said December was 2013's busiest sales month at 2.1 million vehicles.

It gave no growth rate, but that total would be a 17 percent increase over the figured reported for December 2012.

Global automakers are looking to China to drive sales growth.

Chinese sales growth has declined steadily since peaking above 40 percent in 2009 but still is stronger than Western markets.

The CAAM said total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, rose 13.9 percent last year to 22 million vehicles. - Sapa-AP