From London’s Telegraph to Fox News, from Autoblog to Autoguide, gullible media predicted impending doom for foreign carmakers in China. Last February, it was announced that the Chinese government will henceforth only buy Chinese cars. This was seen as a blow especially to Audi. China’s Global Times calls an Audi A6 “Chinese officialdom’s vehicle of choice,” and it was predicted that the officialdom will henceforth have to make do with Roewes and Geelys. Why am I reminded of that story?
Audi’s sales in China are up 37.8 percent for the first six months of the year.
According to Reuters, Audi is “the most popular premium brand in China.” In a Chinese market that has gone mostly sideways, Audi enjoys double-digit growth. Reuters even complains that the June increase of 20.4 percent “represents a slowdown from the 44.2 percent rise seen in May.”
No more mention of the alleged order to functionaries to buy local. Old China hands know that such an announcement comes just about every year, but it never happens. The likewise skeptical Wall Street Journal was right on the money when it did not join the Cassandra choir and wrote:
“The new list is good public relations for a government keen to show it is cracking down on abuse of public funds. But it will be a while before China’s citizens can hope to spy officials behind the black tinted windows of a domestic brand car.”