By on August 7, 2013

Bloomberg photo

Automotive imports to China were down 11% in the first six months of 2013, to 526,000 cars, according to China’s largest import dealer group. That wasn’t the only bad news luxury car importers got.


Last week the official Xinhua News Agency telegraphed possible government restrictions on imports with an editorial accusing foreign carmakers of making exorbitant profits on their luxury car sales in China and saying that the foreign companies should face an anti-trust investigation. While government restrictions will undoubtedly affect future sales, the current decline is attributed to slower economic growth in China.

In the first six months of 2013, BMW’s imports dropped 18% from last year to 84,000 vehicles, while imports from were down 23 percent to 53,000 vehicles. Audi, the favored brand of Chinese officials, declined 3%t to 45,000 units.

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9 Comments on “China Imports Fewer Cars, Government Threatens Investigation of Foreign Luxury Brands “Profiteering”...”

  • avatar

    “Imports” naturally, because the Chinese government partner’s with all in China manufacturers so they would want you to buy “local”

  • avatar

    Volvo is bucking the trend. Sales to China up 61.6% in July 2013 over July 2012.

  • avatar

    China won’t repeat the same mistakes we made when it comes to industry. If you want to sell cars in China, you better set up shop there. Otherwise, they’re just going to make life miserable and expensive for you.

    Meanwhile, we let much of our industry leave and wonder why we have a crumbling industrial base, all for a few extra bucks and lousy trade agreements that surely don’t benefit us.

  • avatar

    Less imported cars into China could be because for several reasons:
    1. More production has been moved to China due to excessive import taxes and restrictions.
    2. Less Japanese imports due to the “island” dispute.
    3. Customer model preferences could have changed.
    4. Customers may select luxury models based more on value. (hence local production)
    This brings up a key issue that warrants discussion and US government focus…

    The US has a huge trade deficit with China. One of the best ways to reduce that deficit is through autos.
    The US government needs to knock down all written and unwritten barriers to entry into the China market. The China government bullies US auto companies to make the vehicles there.

    Now it does make sense to manufacture higher volume vehicles in China, but not every single one!
    As an example, why can’t the US automakers economically export and sell Volts, Mustangs, pick-ups, and cross-overs in China? The automakers really do not want to duplicate more factories to create a total portfolio in China.

    Our US government needs to focus on trade and manufacturing rather than the military, government programs, and social issues. What politicians or political party do we have that can lead the charge?? None! That is what is broke in the US.

  • avatar

    I don ´t see 11% down so worrying. there are few factors

    1. most important i would say is that Japan-china island issues, simply in H1 2012 Japanese brands and imports were growing, this year so far are down-easily more than 11% drop

    2. This year so far chinese growth is great – thanks to smaller cities and western China, big cities on east are basically at their maximum like Shanghai, Beijing, Guanzhou because of limits on registrations – so the poorer part of China is growing that means local cars, cheaper cars – not imports which are not so cheap with that 25 or 30% tax not sure right now what is % on imports tax.

    3. other aspects, like chinese goverment and state institutions starting preffering chinese brands – they must do so.

    4.big part of imports are premium vehicles – over the years alsmot everybody has factory in China, so vehicles importing 2-3years ago now you can produce locally. Basically every foreign automaker is now producing locally in China, so imports will be lower in next 2-3years, only luxury autos will be imported

    5.Chinese native brands have great H1 of 2013 – new models, benefiting from growth in western China + that Japan-china island issue not only hurted japanese, but it was boost for Chinese brands since september 2012 chinese brands market share went up – national pride and so on + if you see their brands have some new nice models over last year + chinese growth in west is clearly bigger than in easter part it means if chinese brands are doing well – import are lower. Changan, Great Wall,BYD, Geely all were growing faster than not only chinese automarket in H1, only Chery was down from 5 biggest chinese native brands- but Chery has other problems..

  • avatar

    It has been a Chinese government practice for a while to entice foreign companies to do business in China as long as see some sort of transfer of intellectual property to local firms. But once that flow of information stops or the foreign company is any real competition to local brands then they become very hostile through trumped up charges of “bad customer service” or “profiteering” or anything else they can dream up. This has been the case with Apple and Google and most likely foreign car makers are next.

  • avatar

    “while imports from were down 23 percent to 53,000 vehicles”

    If we guess the missing manufacturer, do we get a prize? My money’s on Mercedes.

  • avatar

    Wait, wait… waitwaitwaitwaitwait…

    They’re complaining about ‘Exorbitant Profits’…. on Luxury Goods?

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