China's auto sales growth accelerated in July, rising 26.3 percent over a year earlier, and General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. reported new demand records for the month.

An industry group, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said Friday drivers bought 1.6 million passenger cars. Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, rose 23 percent to 1.8 million units.

GM said sales of GM-brand vehicles by the company and its Chinese manufacturing partners rose 18 percent to 270,529, lifting the total for 2016 to more than 2 million units. Ford Motor Co. said sales rose 15 percent to 88,189 vehicles.