China auto sales slow in 2014 but reach 19.7 million vehicles; sales in Dec rise 16 percent

Growth in auto sales in China, the biggest market by number of vehicles sold, slowed last year but reached 19.7 million vehicles.

An industry group, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said Monday sales for the full year rose 9.9 percent. That was down 5.8 percentage points from 2013.

Global automakers are looking to China to drive sales growth despite its cooling economy. They are investing heavily in trying to appeal to Chinese tastes.

Sales in December rose 16 percent to just over 2 million vehicles.