By on January 12, 2010

It’s definitely official now. The last word in Chinese vehicle sales has the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM,) and the CAAM has spoken. Vehicle sales in China last year rose 46.2 percent to 13.64m units. This is not surprising, but it is nonetheless reassuring that the 13.6m number TTAC had reported last week was only 40,000 short. It is equally official that China is the world’s largest auto market, ahead of the U.S.A. by 3m units, more or less.

Vehicle sales in December alone rose 91.7 percent from a year earlier to 1.41m units in China, the CAAM said. Passenger car sales jumped 88.7 percent in the last month to 1.1m units. Full-year 2009 China passenger car sales are up 52.9 percent in 2009 to 10.3m. If passenger cars alone would count, then the truck and SUV happy USA would look like a 3rd world country: According to Automotive News [sub], only 5.7m new “passenger cars” drove off U.S. dealers’ lots in 2009, slightly more than half of what the Chinese bought.

Will the sales boom continue in 2010? Not as mad as in 2009, expects the CAAM. The manufacturers association expects growth to continue at a more moderate pace of 10 percent. This would mean 1.36m units in additional sales, or a total of a little less than 15m. Merrill Lynch is a little more bullish and thinks that the Chinese market will grow to 15.5 million vehicles this year, the Nikkei [sub] reports. A horrific thought to those who are scared that Chinese will use all our oil, and that melting polar caps will destroy the value of our waterfront properties. Wait, it’s getting worse.

China is known for low-balling their projections. By the end of 2008, the CAAM had projected a moderate rise of 5 percent for 2009. A little later, the target was revised to 10m cars for the year. Double, sometimes triple digit growth rates put that target in the round file.

Dong Yang, executive vice president and secretary general of the China CAAM pointed out that auto sales in China over the past 15 years have grown an average 16.7 percent annually. In the worst times of carmageddon, 2008 sales were still up 6.7 percent from a year earlier. Previously, Rao Da, general secretary of the China Passenger Car Association, had said that auto sales in 2010 could grow by another 20 percent so long as China’s economic recovery continues and oil prices stay stable. The CAAM plays it safe and projects 10 percent.

Anyway you slice it, China should close out 2010 with 15m, 16m, or more cars sold.

Since comments about peak oil and pollution are being cued up as I type this, some items to remember:

Air quality: The faster smoke belching vehicles are replaced by modern cars, the better for the environment. Beijing doesn’t allow anything less than Euro 4 into the city, with amazing results for the air quality. China-wide, Euro 4 will go into effect this year. To get the polluters off the road, China is stepping up its Cash for Clunkers program in 2010, and offers between US$733 and $2635 to those who retire their old cars. Increasingly, high polluters will be banned from big cities. Before Beijing was declared off-limits to high-emission vehicles (brand marked by a yellow tag,) they were responsible for 50 percent of the pollution.

Peak oil: According to Edmunds, China is targeting a fleetwide average of 42.2 mpg by 2015. Edmunds: “That’s almost 19 percent more than the 35.5 mpg corporate average fuel economy by 2016 that President Obama announced for the U.S.” Fuel economy for China’s new-car fleet (including SUVs and minivans) already averages 36.8 miles per gallon. In the U.S., the present CAFE standard is 27.5 mpg for cars, 23.1 mpg for trucks.

Now who’s the biggest oinker of ’em all?

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27 Comments on “15m Or More Cars In China. How It Affects Peak Oil And Global Warming...”

  • avatar

    Does the Chinese Gov’t still subsidise cheap petrol?

    Whilst I have no doubt that the average Chinese person consumes less Petrol it doesn’t change the fact that the demand for oil is only  going to rise and that’s before India really get’s motoring remember.

  • avatar

    I think that you’ve hit the nail on the head – fleet MPG advantage or not, the peak oil scenario can only become more defined by this level of consumption. Supplies will dwindle, prices will rise. As many have speculated, the steepness of the decline in oil supplies will determine the chaos to come, and that unknown slope can only be flattened a little bit by “drill baby, drill”, especially with India set to follow China.

  • avatar

    “…A horrific thought to those who are scare that that [sic] Chinese will use all our oil.”

    Where did you get the foolish idea that it’s “our” oil.

    If they buy it, it’s “their” oil.

  • avatar

    too bad the money they are buying it with, is money they let us borrow which we buy crap from them with.
    its probably time to stop buying random shit made in china.

  • avatar

    What Peak Oil?  Peak Oil is a myth.  Oil is produced by the earth!  You may as well say we’re going to run out of water.
    And don’t get me started on so-called Global Warming.  It’s been freezing outside this year, much colder than last.

    • 0 avatar

      Didn’t you hear…they changed the name to “climate change” so they can blame the cold on CO2 as well.  As far as peak oil…It is only not a myth if you are willing to wait a couple billion years for our bodies to decay into hydrocarbon fuels.  Also, to increase capacity requires investment…and it isn’t necessarily in the interest of oil reserve owners to spend a bunch of capital so they can pump their finite supply out faster….at a cheaper price.

    • 0 avatar

      “And don’t get me started on so-called Global Warming.  It’s been freezing outside this year, much colder than last.”
      Brilliant ‘logic’. I sometimes wonder what some of the people on this site do to earn money.  Take a look at these graphs.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly! Peak Oil is a complete lie!

      Now, Peak Antifreeze on the other hand, I’ve seen that shit in the store:

    • 0 avatar

      The earth “produces oil”?  I suppose if you are talking geologic time scales, then you’re correct.   Peak Oil has never been about running out of oil, but rather running out of easily-extracted cheap oil.

    • 0 avatar

      God damn, it feels good to be troll sometimes.  :)

    • 0 avatar
      Mark MacInnis

      Your verb tense is wrong.  Oil “was” produced by the earth.  Near as I can tell, it ain’t being “produced” any more, or anyway not nearly as fast as we seem to be bringing it up and burning it…..

  • avatar

    Oil supplies will self-regulate as long as the market is allowed to determine price. The problem is since we are transferring much of our wealth to Asia, they may be able to afford expensive oil more than us. We’ve already seen this on a diplomatic level.

    • 0 avatar

      Oil supplies will self-regulate as long as the market is allowed to determine price
      Yes, at some point, it will be profitable to exchange artillery shells for it.

  • avatar

    “Brilliant ‘logic’. I sometimes wonder what some of the people on this site do to earn money. Take a look at these graphs.”

    mel23, if you had read this site for a while, you would realize that psarhjinian is joking. As Disaster says above, sarcasm does not really work in postings like this. People sometimes don’t realize you are not serious.

  • avatar

    Peak oil is confused concept. Maybe that’s the reason many people will associate it with another confused concept- global warming.
    I don’t believe in an oil emergency. If such thing would have been probable in the next 30 years or so, smarter than us people,  the people who have access to reliable information, would have already acquired the Canadian Oil Sands.

  • avatar

    Say, I didn’t realize that there are people who still believe in anthropogenic global warming. They must still be listening to politicians for their science, and not paying attention to current science.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Very informative piece, I like it!
    It’s the crux of our time: trade with China and India will make us (and them) wealthy, but oil and other commodities will get much more expensive. Nobody can say they haven’t been warned, but everybody can get used to using alternatives.

  • avatar

    I like Bertel’s irreverent style, and if anything deserves needling, Peak Oil and AGW do. The first is based on misunderstanding the energy business and markets. It’s like the old story about the politician who calls up the county election board and says, “How many votes do I have?” The guy at the courthouse replies, “How many do you need?” (BTW, the point of the joke, psarhijinian, is that demand brings increased supply, not that the politician will nuke the courthouse to get more ballots.)
    As for AGW, the Chicken Little alarmists  persist despite the shattering revelations from the leaked computer files from the climate center at the University of East Anglia. British media have done some fairly good reporting, but US Big Media has been ignoring, minimizing or twisting the story.  Anyone who has been paying attention already knew the American scientist’s famed hockey stick graph was a fraud, but the leaked files revealed the UEA center (the most influential voice and source for the alarmist community) used lousy data, some of it just made up. They ignored data that contradicted the predetermined outcome. They abused and manipulated the peer review process to squelch questions and dissent. They kept data concealed so no one could check their results. They claim much original data has been lost, and now only their “adjusted” data is available.  Their computer programs for forecasting warming were horrifically bad. (Programmers who have reviewed the code are shocked.) All in all, the emperor is as naked as can be. As many suspected all along.

    • 0 avatar

      They ignored data that contradicted the predetermined outcome
      No, they normalized data that was abherrent.  If you read commentary from actual scientists, this is something that happens all the time, in every field.  That laypeople or skeptics don’t understand how or why you’d do normalization doesn’t mean that it’s bad or part of a conspiracy.
      They abused and manipulated the peer review process to squelch questions and dissent.
      No, they didn’t.  Two guys said, in public commentary, that one guy’s research wasn’t very good.  That doesn’t constitute abusing the process, not that skeptics believed in said process in the first place.
      I followed that controversy very closely, and there’s no “smoking gun” unless you take the quotes heavily out of context and completely diregard all the corroborating research from thousands of scientists who are not associated with CRU.   Or if you just restrict yourself to right-wing blogs
      That the data stolen from CRU comes from Russian hackers with their own agenda just makes it all the more, ahem, trustworthy.
      If the CRU was guilty of anything, it’s that they publicly expressed their frustration at having to fill FOIA requests from skeptic cranks at the rate of several per week, requests that would a) be used to debunk them, b) wouldn’t have been understood by the cranks in question and c) cost them time that could otherwise be spent on their day job.  I can see how the language they use would put some people off, but if I was in their position, I’d be pretty damn cranky, too.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      psarhjinian, I’m reasonably sure your spin on the CRU leak is wrong.  First, the files that showed up  in Russia were probably leaked, not stolen.  They appear to have been carefully gathered together for a freedom of information request.  I bet someone put weeks and weeks of overtime into gathering those files only to have the top guys block the release.
      Second, the temperature data appears to have been manipulated to fit a predetermined outcome.  The scientists may have believed that they were making the correct adjustments to fit the data together, but their adjustments create much of the warming.

      Third, a core group of scientists clearly tried to discredit dissenting views.  Again, they may have sincerely believed that they were right and skeptics were wrong, but real science can stand up to close scrutiny.  In this case, politics got in the way of good science.

  • avatar

    I get the joke, but the fact is the Chinese will never consume “our oil”.
    Why? Because the U.S. is the only country in the world that forbids exploring, let alone extracting from under its seabed (other than relatively small patches in the Gulf of Mexico and in Alaska where it is allowed).  The U.S. also forbids exploiting the oil shales in 99% of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, which hold more oil than Saudi Arabia.  No wonder we are an oil importer.
    You see other countries, such as Brazil, having recently become oil exporters, because they do allow Atlantic seabed oil exploration and production.
    Since our environmental movement precludes us from accessing our own oil, it stands to reason that the Chinese also can never get to use it, either.

  • avatar

    Right, VWW12. If oil was bread, we’d buy it from other countries because our farmers disturb the soil when they plant wheat.
    Also, many people don’t realize when they see “number of barrels of recoverable oil” that means “number of barrels of economically recoverable oil at a given price.” In effect, the higher the price, the more oil is “there”! And if the price gets too low to make a profit extracting it, the well gets shut down.
    Regarding the current anti-Climategate spin (100,000 rpm), I understand it because I’m in the same predicament. I’ve invented a perpetual motion machine, but I can’t tell anyone how it works because then they’ll prove me wrong!

  • avatar

    Is China no longer using leaded gas?

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