Chinese Car Sales Break Sound Barrier

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

China’s auto sales have most likely broken the 10 million unit sound barrier at the time of this typing. This according to educated estimates of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) via Gasgoo. The association expects annual sales for 2009 to surpass 12 million.

In September, China’s auto sales had soared 78 percent (compared to September of the prior year) to 1.33m units. Sales of passenger cars, including sedans, SUVs and MPVs, rose 83.6 percent to 1.02m units. September marked the seventh straight month in a row that China’s car sales exceeded one million units a month.

For the first nine months of the year, China’s vehicle sales increased 34.2 percent.

Beginning in January 2009, China’s total car sales exceeded those of the United States. The lead of the Chinese market has extended ever since. China’s Global Times reports that during the recent eight day October holidays, 10,000 cars were registered in Beijing alone. China’s capital, which had one million registered motor vehicles in 1997, now has 3.88m

Analysts already warn that 2010 growth will be lower than the record numbers in 2009. According to the analysts cited by Gasgoo, “the industry will still grow, albeit at a slower pace.” The second half of 2008 was disappointing for China, comparisons with last year show huge increases. Next year, it will be harder to exceed current record numbers.

China’s GM doesn’t share this cautious opinion. “We expect our sales to continue to grow, even a little faster than the industry next year,” GM China’s President Kevin Wale told reporters. In the first nine months of 2009, GM China’s vehicle sales jumped 55.6 percent from a year earlier, hitting a record with 1,292,549 units sold. GM’s Henderson believes that China will stay ahead of the USA for quite some times. “It’s not a blip,” Henderson said to AFP. Quite perceptive.

Ford’s Mulally hopes that total U.S. industry sales will be 11 million in 2009, rising to 12.5 million in 2010 and to about 14.5 million in 2011. At that rate, the U.S.A. will never catch up with China.

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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