An industry group says China's auto sales accelerated in March with strong demands for SUVs.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Thursday that sales of passenger vehicles in world's largest auto market rose 9.4 percent to 1.87 million. That was up from February's 6.4 percent expansion.

The association says auto sales of passenger vehicles in the first quarter rose 9 percent to 5.3 million and that the growth was largely driven by demands for SUVs, whose sales expanded 48.8 percent. Sales of sedan cars dropped by 0.4 percent.

The industry group says Chinese automakers gained market share in March by 4.3 percentage points after selling 819,200 units.