By on January 8, 2010

Chinese rocket. Picture courtesy

If even the DetN prints it, then we can assume it’s official: China’s total light vehicle sales came in at 13.6m, slightly higher than the estimates. The Chinese car market grew 45 percent compared to 2008. This according to data released by the China Passenger Car Association. China’s official auto sales data for 2009 are scheduled to be released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers next week, but should not differ much from the figure which was put on the wire by the state news agency Xinhua.

Here are some of the largest players:

General Motors, up 66.9 percent to 1.83 million units (including more than a million light trucks and utility vehicles made in a joint venture with Wuling, where GM holds a minority interest.) The king of the passenger vehicle hill is Volkswagen with a record 1.4 million cars sold, up 36.7 percent. Hyundai Motor and its affiliate, Kia, likely took the #3 spot with 811,695 vehicles sold in China last year, an 85.9 percent increase. Nissan is the largest Japanese brand in China, its sales jumped 38.7 percent to 756,000 vehicles. Toyota sold 709,000 vehicles, up 21 percent. Ford’s sales grew 44 percent to 440,619 vehicles. China’s more than 100 auto makers sold the rest.

It’s likewise official what we had predicted since February 2009: China is the world’s largest auto market. It is so by a wider than we had thought: China did beat the U.S.A. by 3.2m units.

Really bad sign: The DetN thinks it will get worse. They quoted Rao Da, general secretary of the China Passenger Car Association, who 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. “People there are getting richer and can afford cars. Younger people can work for two or three years and with the help of their parents can buy a car,” Rao said. “Being able to afford a car in China is not so difficult any more. People with an average salary can afford to buy a car.”

If  Rao’s prognosis of 20 percent growth pans out in 2010, then Chinese will buy more than 16m cars this year. When and where did we hear that number last time?

Refer to TTAC’s roundup of 2009 sales data for a continuously updated roundup of 2009 sales data from around the world.

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7 Comments on “Chinese Buy 13.6m Cars, Up 45 Percent...”

  • avatar

    It seems their traffic will become unmanageable. Everyone in a nation of 1B+ can not possible have a car. At least not if they plan on driving it.

  • avatar

    The color of the “Chinese rocket” above gives it a very unfortunately phallic appearance.

    As China’s auto market increases in size, I would expect competition to become fierce, which would force China’s domestic automakers to build better and better products. Eventually we will see some pretty good cars being built by Chinese companies, and it may be sooner than later. If the rest of the world stands back and pokes fun at the Chinese like they did the Koreans, they will rue the day.

  • avatar

    Hello Mr. Schmitt!

    According to Anfavea (National Association of Automobile Makers) Brazil had a record year, too. At least in terms of sales. In terms of production it’s slightly off 2008 (just -1%).

    3.14 million vehicles were sold down here. That’s good for an increase of 11.4% (last year’s total sales of 2.82 million). Exported vehicles however fell by 35.3% (from 735 thousand in 2008 to 475 thousand in 2009).

    Imported cars made up a record 15.6% of the market (in 2008, 13.3% and 2007 11.3%). As to class of engines 52.7% were 1.0L cars, 46.1% were between 1,1L and 2.0L engines and just 1.3% cars had engines bigger than a 2.1L engine. Flex fuel cars made up 88% of sales, only gasoline 7% amd diesel (only for jeeps and pick-ups) 4.5%.

    An interesting number is that December 2009 saw a total production of 252 thousand vehicles, an increase of 159.1% over December 2008 (when the crisis was at its height in Brazil). Total sales in Dec 2009 were of 293 thousand units (16.4% above Nov 2009 and an impresseive 50,7& over Dec 2008). Interestingly, exports also started showing signs of life (a 21% increase over Dec 2008).

    These numbers (especially the December 2009 ones) show the crisis is going away in much of the world.

  • avatar

    That rocket looks vaguely familiar…

  • avatar

    Accordoing to the koreans, China in 2009 is where South Korea was in 1988.
    If history is any guide, the next 20 years will be spectacular… in terms of car sales and oil consumption.

  • avatar

    oh my god that looks like a giant….

  • avatar

    Omoikane: I agree that China is a repeat of Korea in the late 80’s, and of Japan in the 60’s. The huge difference is population. Whereas Japan has 128m people, and South Korea has 49m people, China has way above 1.3b people (the real number is believed to be 1.5b.) That’s 10 times the population of Japan, and 27 times the population of South Korea.
    The growth in Japan and Korea quickly outstripped the labor supply and necessitated deals with the unions which quickly cut into the competitiveness of both countries. China’s labor pool is as vast as the country.

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