Low cost cars? Who needs them. BMW’s CFO Friedrich Eichiner thinks that the premium segment is where the growth is. Eichiner projects the global auto market to go basically sideways by growing 4 percent in 2012. He expects the premium segment to grow twice as fast at 8 percent. That according to an interview given to Munich’s Süddeutsche Zeitung today. Of course that growth is not spread evenly around the world. Eichiner predicts that the European car market will remain flat this year. Growth potential is seen in the U.S. and China. (Read More…)
“We can’t make cars as fast as they sell in China,” said an old friend of mine last night on the phone from Wolfsburg. He works at Volkswagen, the company that fights with GM for the title of King of the Middle Kingdom. I wanted his opinion on the sudden reduction in Chinese car sales. His answer? “What reduction? We are building three new factories in China, and we better get on with it.” He is right. If they don’t hustle, the competition will pour concrete faster than Volkswagen does. (Read More…)
GM China, our recently no longer so reliable oracle for the Chinese market, raised its November sales by 11 percent, compared to an absolutely batty November 2009. 11 percent are not the same growth as the 109.5 percent GM China had recorded in last year’s November, but how much battier do you expect them to get? The more meaningful number is that for the first 11 months of 2010: From January through November, GM’s China sales jumped 33 percent to a mind-blowing 2.17 million units. GM China will most likely close out the year in the 2.35 to 2.4m area – this is higher than the total sales of some of Europe’s larger countries, and definitely a whole lot more than GM sells back home. Better get used to it. (Read More…)
People have accused me of irrational exuberance (or worse) when I mentioned that the Chinese auto market could be 17 million or thereabouts this year. Impending bubbles were predicted. Popping bubbles were (erroneously) reported. Gordon Chang, guest of Glenn Beck whenever Beck needs an Asian that says something nasty about China, even offered the theory that the Chinese government secretly buys most of the cars and hides them somewhere. (For 17 million, the Gobi desert would come in handy, but then there’s Google maps.) I stuck by my prediction of 17m or thereabouts.
Well, it turns out I was wrong after all. (Read More…)