China Might Be World's Largest Car Market and Car Producer in 2009

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
china might be world s largest car market and car producer in 2009
In January and February 2009, China sold more cars than the US. From all indications, the same will happen in March: The US is preparing for a REALLY bad month, whereas China reports brisk sales. If this continues, China will be the world’s biggest auto market in 2009—with nearly unlimited growth potential.If the stars align just right, China may even end up as the world’s biggest auto producer in 2009. China surpassed the United States in 2008 as the world’s second-largest auto maker and could overtake Japan as the top global car manufacturer in 2009.The reason is not China’s phenomenal growth; it’s the dismal performance of Japan and the US.China manufactured 9.3 million cars in 2008 compared to 8.7 million cars in the US, iSuppli Corp. (El Segundo, Calif.) says as reported by EE Times. iSuppli estimates that China will produce just 8.7 million autos this year while Japanese auto production will drop to 7.6 million.“China during the last five years more than doubled its domestic automobile production, while US manufacturing has declined by nearly 50 percent,” iSuppli automotive analyst Egil Juliussen said in a statement. “China will have the lowest production cutback of any nation and will become the auto production leader in 2009,” Juliussen predicted.Meanwhile, iSuppli said, the decline in US auto making is being hastened by the outsourcing of a “major portion” of manufacturing of cars for the US market to Canada and Mexico.
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  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Mar 30, 2009

    The shrinking of the Japanese domestic sales and the aging of the population has been a long process. Japanese domestic sales have deteriorated over many years. What is new is that Japanese PRODUCTION tanks. Three reasons: - Drastically dwindling exports (high exposure to U.S. market) - Move of production to countries outside of Japan - Deteriorating domestic market The Chinese growth is nearly all domestic. China's whole car exports are a non-event. So far.

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Mar 30, 2009

    @kevin: Using a generous measure, the municipality of Tianjin is China's 6th largest after Chongqing, Shanghai, Beijing, the provincial capital of Guangzhou, and the Shenzen Special Economic Zone. As a city, Tianjin with only 8m people is rather small by Chinese standards. My condolences to you for having to live there. If you want some fun, hop on the 30 minute high speed train to Beijing and I'll entertain you. You will see an impressive and quite modern fleet of cars clogging the roads. Yes, tricycles ( there are an estimated 15 million of them in China) and even motorbikes are counted as "motorvehicles" - same as in the US and Europe. As far as I know, they are not contained in the CAAM count. It has proven quite reliable and is based on registrations. Sales price has no bearing on registration statistics. If that would be the case, then Europe would be the clear winner .... As far as the Volkswagen Jetta goes (again, my condolences) it is not a "foreign manufacture." It is made by FAW-VW, most likely in Changchun or Chengdu. For a long time, the Chinese jettas were based on the venerable Golf/Jetta Mark II of 1984 vintage - and FAW refused to change it, because it was on the top of the charts. Only last year, a new Chinese built Jetta was introduced, based on Volkswagen's PQ34 platform, aka MkIV of 1998 vintage. If you want something more recent, then you have to wait for the new Golf, introduced by FAW this year, which is based on the current PQ36 or MKVI platform. You will find this car very much on par with its European siblings. Welcome to China!

  • Kevin L. Copple Kevin L. Copple on Mar 30, 2009

    @bertel Hey . . . I was in Beijing last weekend for the Green Building Conference. Yes, Tianjin has a lot to be desired. At least there are not enough foreigners here for the Taxi drivers to hone their scamming techniques. The convention center made me an obvious target I guess, but all was well after the yelling, license plate photos, and arm-waving. Tianjin is 12 to 13 million by some estimates. May depend on where you draw the line . . . city proper or entire Tianjin mini-province. My point above (since edited a little) is that the modern-looking fleet of Chinese cars hides a lot of shortcuts in safety/pollution/convenience/quality features we are accustomed to in the US. Counting cars in the US and China is largely an apples/oranges sort of thing. Also curious is that cars over 15 years old are not allowed on the roads in China . . . I was considering bringing over a 1941 Plymouth for its gee-wiz factor. Thanks for VW info . . . I'd love to have a near-genuine Golf GTI here sometime.

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Mar 30, 2009

    City proper has 8m and Tianjin municipality has 11m and change - officially. The actual numbers are always higher. drop me a line when you are back in BJ.