It’s official: China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) announced that in 2010, Chinese bought 18,061,900 vehicles, an increase of 32.37 percent over 2009. Automobile production rose to 18,264,700 units, an increase of 32.44 percent.
As predicted several times, China handily broke the world record of annual sales, established by the U.S.A. way back in 2000 with sales of 17.4 million units.
In December alone, China produced about 1.86 million vehicles and sold nearly 1.67 million units. Just to put it in perspective: In one month, China made approximately the same number of cars that were sold in the U.K. in the whole year.
China will hold on to that record for the foreseeable future. With 11.69 million cars sold in 2010, the U.S. is now a bit more than half the size of the Chinese market. Even if most optimistic predictions should materialize, the U.S. won’t get close.
The headlines will undoubtedly center on how China’s growth is expected to slow in 2011. Reuters gives an example. Keep in mind: Percentage growth is a nasty animal. Even if China’s growth slows to 10 to 15 percent in 2011, the total will be more than 20 million this year.
The CAAM also expects growth of 10 to 15 percent in 2011. They think that the market will fluctuate a bit in the first quarter or two until the changes in government incentives have worked themselves out of the market. According to the CAAM, domestic brands had 45.6 percent of the passenger vehicle market in China in 2010, up slightly from 44.3 percent in 2009. Passenger vehicles with engines of 1.6 liters or smaller accounted for 68.9 percentof passenger vehicle sales in 2010, boosted by incentive policies, CAAM Deputy Secretary General Zhu Yiping said in a news conference today. The CAAM is not worried about overcapacity in China.