Pic: AP.

BEIJING (AP) — China’s auto sales rebounded in April as expectations cities will tighten ownership curbs to fight smog and traffic prompted buyers to rush to make purchases.

An industry group, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said Friday that passenger vehicle sales rose 11.6 percent to 1.6 million vehicles. That was up sharply from March’s 7.9 percent growth.

China’s auto market is the world’s biggest by number of vehicles sold. Sales growth has cooled steadily since peaking above 40 percent in 2009. Sales are forecast to grow by 8 to 10 percent this year.

A growing number of cities are imposing limits on new vehicle registration. That has prompted a spike in purchases as buyers acquire cars to beat the restrictions.