January 24, 2011 9:30 AM, EST

GM’s China Sales Surpass U.S. for First Time

General Motors Co. sold more cars and trucks in China last year than in the United States for the first time in the company’s history, the Associated Press reported.

GM said Monday it sold 2.35 million vehicles in China, about 136,000 more than in its U.S. sales, with China’s sales surging 29% as its expanding middle class gained wealth, AP reported.

The company’s U.S. sales rose 6.3% as it continued to rebound from its 2009 bankruptcy protection, GM said Monday.

Its U.S. pickup truck sales rose 16% last year to 1.6 million vehicles and GM said small businesses are beginning to buy pickups again after staying out of the market for nearly two years.

Toyota Motor Corp. remains the of world’s largest automaker by sales, with a 8.42 million units in worldwide sales last year, about 30,000 more than GM’s 8.39 million units, AP said.