In January, China’s auto sales for the first time in history exceeded America’s, making China the world’s largest auto market for the month. As we said, sooner than later, China is bound to outclass the US of A solidly. Xu Changming, director of China’s economic consultative center under the State Information Center, thinks that it is quite possible that China will overtake the United States as the World No.1 car market for all of 2009: “Chinese auto sales are expected to grow 4 percent to 5 percent from 9.38 million units sold last year, more than the estimated 9 million unit sales in the U.S. this year.”
“But this figure is not something we should feel proud of since the U.S. was just plunged into an economic recession,” Xu warns according to Gasgoo. “Once the recession ends, America can retake the sales crown by selling 16 million–17 million vehicles annually.” So even if China takes the crown this year, they might lose it, and then “China still needs at least four to five years to eventually catch up with the U.S. in the auto sales total,” said Xu. And he has reason for caution . . .
China’s parts manufacturing industry, which largely exports (or exported) to the US, is hurting. A return to 16m SAAR in the U.S. definitely would be more beneficial to the Middle Kingdom than the dubious crown of being top dog of the world’s anorexic auto market.
China’s January auto sales are looking healthy. Car sales including SUVs totaled 647,594 units, down 0.2 percent from a year ago but up 0.5 percent from December, data from the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) showed. And this with a whole sales week missing, due to the Lunar New Year falling in the last week of January this year. In the US meanwhile, auto sales in January tumbled 37 percent to 656,976 vehicles, hitting a 27-year low.