No reining in Chinese vehicle firms

Updated: 2014-03-04 07:59

By Andrew Thomson (China Daily)

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No reining in Chinese vehicle firms 

A carmaker's promotion event in Guangzhou. Auto sales growth in China helped virtually every major manufacturer achieve record sales. Provided to China Daily 

China's car industry looks a sure bet to be a winner in the Year of the Horse.

Growth rates may not quite match those of 2013, when a 16 percent jump in sales surprised most observers, but total volume should still rise by about 10 percent to almost 20 million units.

No reining in Chinese vehicle firms

No reining in Chinese vehicle firms
This increase will widen the gap with the world's second-largest market, that of the United States, to about 4 million vehicles, a gap that will grow inexorably.

Moreover, while the US will finally recover to its pre-global financial crisis sales level, China's total will be more than three times that of 2008, a tribute to the extraordinary advance of its auto industry while most of the rest of the world - and the entire developed world - has been stagnating.

Last year's growth helped virtually every major carmaker in China achieve record sales. The top performance was that of Ford Motor Co's, with a more than 50 percent rise in sales to 935,000 units, as it launched a slew of new models, including popular sport utility vehicles.

But Japan's big three carmakers (Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co Ltd and Nissan Motor Co) also had good years.

The leaders, however, remained General Motors Co and Volkswagen AG, which for the first time in nearly a decade reclaimed its crown as China's top automaker with total sales of 3.19 million units (ahead of GM, which had 3.16 million units).

South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co held onto third place with sales of just over 1 million.

Barring unexpected political or economic turbulence, these companies should all set further record highs in 2014. Measures aimed at curbing pollution and congestion via license plate quotas will affect sales in some of China's richer cities, but any decline in these locations will largely be offset by the fast-growing rise in demand coming from inland and lower-tier cities.

No reining in Chinese vehicle firms
No reining in Chinese vehicle firms
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