China vehicle production rose 7.4% from year-ago levels, to 1,501,445 units in August, marking the sixth straight month of year-over-year increases in the industry.

August output was up 4.5% from July’s results.

Both cars and light trucks posted solid increases, as cars climbed 10.6% over year-ago to 873,013 units and light truck production jumped 7.4% to 557,693. Buses remained relatively flat, increasing 1.5% vs. August 2011.

Medium/heavy trucks were the only vehicle type to post a decline in August, down 24.8% to 54,800 units. January 2009 was the last time the sector saw volume this low on a monthly basis.

Downturns in real estate, infrastructure construction and the freight market, along with a slowing economic growth rate, have contributed to the steep decline.

FAW Volkswagen was the top manufacturer in China in August for the third straight month, with 129,600 units produced, accounting for 8.6% of the country’s output.

SAIC-GM-Wuling came up just short of the top spot, producing 124,481 vehicles. Year-to-date, however, it remains No.1, with a 7.7% share of production.

Not surprisingly, the Volkswagen Jetta ranked first among models built in August. With 42,834 units produced, it outnumbered the second-place model, Shanghai GM’s Buick Excelle, by about 6,000. Output of the Jetta equaled 2.9% of total August production in China, its highest share since January 2009.

Through August, China’s manufacturers produced 12,470,334 vehicles, about 600,000 units, or 5.2%, more than the first eight months of 2011.

hrowe@wardsauto.com