China Leaves U.S. Market in the Dust. Exports Suck

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

China is expected to manufacture a record 12 million vehicles in 2009, said Chen Bin, director of the department of industry under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) via Gasgoo. This is a lowball estimate.

In the first eight months of ’09, Chinese domestic auto makers have racked up more than eight million new vehicle sales. August is widely expected to deliver triple-digit increases possible. ( Traditionally, August is a slow month in the Chinese season, with sales steadily increasing until the end of the Western year.) If these projections pan out, Chinese auto sales will end up some 20 percent higher than America’s.

Nearly all Chinese cars are built for domestic consumption. Gasgoo reports China exported a paltry 190,000 vehicles in the first seven months of this year, down 58 percent from 2008. Bottom line: the feared Chinese assault on the world auto market is not (yet) happening. China’s car exports only account for three percent of the world total, and two percent of China’s total exports.

China’s Ministry of Commerce is unhappy with the country’s dearth of automotive exports. Other than pondering a move to “implement guidelines for the country’s auto exporters,” which “will urge exporters to set up sales networks, perfect after sales services, and adjust business structures,” the Ministry is stumped. For some, that’s the best news yet.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Menno Menno on Sep 08, 2009

    Autosavant, the Hyundai Genesis coupe is NOT a Tiburon at all. Tiburon was front wheel drive, transverse engine. The Genesis coupe is rear wheel drive, longetudial engine; it shares rear wheel drive components and basic (specific rear wheel drive only) 3.8 Litre V6 engines with the Genesis sedan; shares automatic transmissions with the Genesis sedan.... Since when can't a car be sold under one name with two doors and four doors? Probably 85% to 90% of American cars up until the 1990's were sold in two door AND four door form. Even including the 1967-1971 Ford Thunderbird, which could be had with (rear suicide door) four doors. BTW, Hyundai and Kia have one small advantage over any Japanese branded marque in China. They are not Japanese. The Chinese have long memories and still recall the massacre of Chinese under the Japanese army in the late 1930's, in Nanking, wasn't it? Also the rape of many women. Of course, we mustn't forget that both the Japanese and Hitler were mere amateurs compared to Mao and Stalin, who between them killed probably 100 million. Also Pol Pot, a few decades later.

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Sep 08, 2009

    Menno: thanks for your comments. Before you posted them, I had checked up on the Genesis Sedan and the so-called “Genesis” Coupe at KBB Tech specs and prices, and they are apples and oranges in more ways than one: First, the Coupe is NOT made from the Genesis Sedan PLATFORM, which is the mark of relatedness. Second, most people consider the Genesis SEDAN as a LUXURY sedan (or at least near luxury), and its base prices go from $33,050 for the v6 to $38,050 for the V8. The “genesis” coupe is not a luxury coupe, and its base prices are $22,750 with the tiny 2.0T (an engine not at all available on the Sedan) and $24,750 for the V6. Also note that the coupe, even tho a “performance” vehicle, is not available with the V8, with which the SEDAN IS available! Further, look at some stats: GENESIS SEDAN, even with the smaller engine (the V6): 115.6″ WB, 195.9″ length, 3,897 LBS wt. Genesis coupe, in its heaviest form (v6): 111″ WB, 182.3 ” length (ONLY!), 3,389 lbs only! NOW take any other coupes truly derived from the SEDAN’s platform Such as the imposing Mercedes S class coupes of 1991-99: Not only do they have the same engines and, surprisingly, almost identical WEIGHTS with the larger sedans, They cost much MORE, not much LESS, than the Sedans. So, in conclusion: If you go buy the “Genesis” coupe, esp. the 2.0T, thinking you are buying the Sedan at Half price, you will be sadly mistaken. Hyundai deliberately called the coupe the “Genesis” to take advantage of the good reception of the Sedan, and propagates that dishonesty in its advertising, claiming that the coupe has the sedan’s DNA and related BS.

  • ZekeToronto ZekeToronto on Sep 08, 2009

    Autosavant: How many rear wheel drive "platforms" would Hyundai have? Vehicles that share platforms can have significantly different wheelbases, overall lengths, weights and even tracks. One example would be the CUVs and minivans that are spun from pre-existing compact and subcompact car platforms.

  • Rada Rada on Sep 09, 2009

    All of the penile length comparisons who sold more of what, will end in tears when oil (yeah, that little unknown variable) hits $150-200 again.