Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Revved Up

As the US car industry declines, China's is rising.

From AFP:

Image from AFP

BEIJING — China's auto production topped 10 million units for the year Tuesday, the first time it has broken the mark, state media reported, as makers boost output to meet demand in the fast-growing market.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), said the only other countries to attain that mark were the United States and Japan, according to Xinhua news agency.


The manufacturer's group had said last week that output was likely to reach 12 million for all of 2009.

It said at the time that China's auto sales soared 77.9 percent in September from a year ago to 1.33 million units -- the seventh straight month that sales exceeded the one million unit mark.

Last year, a total of 9.4 million units were sold in China, up eight percent from the previous year.

Read On
As I've talked about before, Chinese people are embracing the culture of buying cars.

For a young, urban-dwelling Chinese man, owning an apartment is still the most important prerequisite for marriage. Car ownership is coming in as a close second though. In talking with Qian and my other young adult Chinese friends, I've heard a lot of things like:
He's ready to get married. He has a good (or government) job, his parents bought him an apartment, and he has a car.
Zachary Karabell, in his book Superfusion, speaks about the Chinese people's desire to buy and own cars.

From p. 252 of Superfusion:
As late as 2003, there were fewer than 2 million passenger cars sold in China, compared to nearly 10 million in the United States. Cars were still expensive luxury items in China, which meant that they cost double the price that similar vehicles commanded in the Western world. Yet there was a palpable sense that the appetite for cars would soon explode, just as it had for other goods that were part and parcel of life in the capitalist world. Surverys pointed to a large pent-up demand; young Chinese viewed buying a car as one of the ultimate signs of status and success.
In this passage, Karabell is speaking in the past tense because he is describing when and how established car makers went into China. Having spent significant time in China recently, this feeling that owning a car is a status symbol is definitely still the case.

As China rises, millions upon millions more cars are going to drive off of dealers' lots.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I’m very surprised that the automotive industry is doing so well . Because 6 months ago a lot of China Automobile producers had to close because of the global recession. I think that the big increase in China is due to the help that the government gave the sector. This have been a big stimulant for the people to buy more cars.