China's auto sales growth accelerated in July, an industry group said Friday, while General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. reported record demand for the month.

Sales in the world's biggest auto market rose 26.3 percent to 1.6 million units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said. Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, rose 23 percent to 1.8 million units.

Sales of SUVs, whose explosive popularity has helped to buoy demand as other categories sagged, soared 47.4 percent to 580,000 vehicles.

Demand cratered last year, jolting global brands that depend on China to drive revenue. Sales revived after the government cut sales taxes, but longer-term growth is expected to moderate from the double-digit rates of recent years.

Sales of GM 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. sales rose 15 percent to 88,189 vehicles.

Volkswagen AG, which competes with GM for the status of China's most popular vehicle brand, said sales rose 16 percent to 285,900.

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Sales by Chinese brands outpaced the market, expanding 27.6 percent to 634,000 vehicles. Sales of Chinese-made SUVs surged 57.1 percent to 314,000.

The market share of Chinese automakers edged down 0.7 percentage points to 39.5 percent, according to CAAM. That followed small but steady gains as the popularity of lower-cost models helped them claw back share this year.

For the first seven months of the year, auto sales rose 11.1 percent to 12.6 million units. Sales by Chinese brands rose 14.4 percent to 5.4 million.