Vehicle output in China totaled 1,899,425 units in April, up 15.5% from year-ago, but down 8.9% from the 2 million built in March.

April was an important month for medium/heavy trucks, with combined production up 47.4% compared with like-2012, marking the largest year-on-year gain since a 56.8% increase in June 2010. Builds of light vehicles and buses also rose in the month, up 14.0% and 4.6%, respectively.

The robust year-over-year increase comes on the heels of announcements by two major auto makers that they will add assembly plants in China.

General Motors’ Shanghai GM joint venture has government approval to construct a facility to produce a Cadillac model in the next five years. The move will allow the U.S. auto maker to avoid paying a 25% import tariff.

The plant will be located in Shanghai’s Jinqiao district and will have annual capacity of 150,000 units. Production of the luxury brand also allows GM to compete with the dominant German brands in the segment.

The specific model the plant will build has not been revealed, but the WardsAuto/AutomotiveCompass global production forecast has GM producing the Cadillac ATS sedan, SRX luxury cross/utility vehicle and ZTS sports car in China by 2016.

Volkswagen says it will construct a plant in the city of Changsha. The Shanghai VW plant will have annual capacity of 300,000 units. The facility is expected to start production in 2016. Possible products include a VW Passat-based CUV and near-luxury sedan and a Skoda small CUV.

Shanghai GM and Shanghai VW rank second and third among manufacturers in China, behind Shanghai GM-Wuling.

Shanghai GM-Wuling’s Zhiguang ranked first among models built in April, with 50,491 units, the highest monthly volume for the commercial van since April 2012. Shanghai GM’s Buick Excelle placed second with 42,724, or 2.3% of industry output.

Geely introduced a new model in April, the Englon SX7, that is being built in China. The SUV offers three engine options: a 136-hp 1.8L, a 140-hp 2.0L and a 160-hp 2.4L. It is based largely on Geely’s Gleagle GX7 but has some minor style differences. The auto maker built 1,930 units of the SX7 through April.

China’s auto makers produced 7,296,460 vehicles in the year’s first four months, up 13.5% or 870,000 units from like-2012.

hrowe@wardsauto.com