China shows modest February growth after government incentives expire

New car sales grew less than 3 percent in China, the slowest growth rate in more than two years.

New car sales in China grew just 3 percent last month, their smallest gain in over two years, as government incentives aimed at selling more cars ended.

In addition, economists say that a week-long government holiday also slowed new car sales.

Overall, 967,200 new cars were sold in China in February, a 2.6 percent increase over the prior year in the rapidly-expanding market that has become the world's largest.

Despite the relatively weak overall market performance, General Motors set a sales record, remaining China's largest carmaker. Its 6 percent sales increase helped deliver 184,498 new cars, outpacing the market as a whole, although January sales were up 22 percent over the prior year. Chinese automaker BYD, meanwhile, saw sales drop 22 percent to 26,561 cars.

The government ended a sales tax break on small cars earlier this year and it also began phasing out subsidies aimed at increasing car sales in more rural areas.