BEIJING, June 3 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp and its two local joint-venture partners sold 81,100 automobiles in China in May, up 2.7 percent from a year earlier, the automaker said on Tuesday.
That followed a 12.4 percent year-on-year rise in April and a 19 percent rise in March.
Sources with direct knowledge of the data told Reuters earlier on Tuesday that Toyota's China sales growth slowed to 3 percent in May, mainly because sales of the Corolla model in China fell sharply ahead of the planned launch of a redesigned version of the model this summer.
In the first five months of the year, Japan's biggest automaker sold 394,900 vehicles, up 16.1 percent from a year earlier.
Toyota this year aims to sell more than 1.1 million vehicles in China. If accomplished, this would see the carmaker surpass annual sales of 1 million vehicles in China for the first time, a target it originally aimed for in 2010.
Toyota's executive vice president Yasumori Ihara said in Beijing in April that over the longer-term the Japanese automaker aims to double sales in China to about 2 million vehicles a year but gave no time frame for the objective.
Last year, Toyota sold 917,500 vehicles in China.
Toyota operates joint ventures in China with China FAW Group Corp and Guangzhou Automobile Group. (Reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu)