China’s Car Makers Optimistic for 2009

Somebody forgot to tell China’s carmakers about the global economic crisis. Nearly all are targeting big sales increases in 2009.

In a roundup of strategies for 2009, the April edition of China Automotive Review, available only by subscription, noted the aggressive plans of the local assemblers compared to their more conservative, foreign-invested rivals.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • BYD plans to double unit sales this year to 400,000 by launching five new models. Wang Chuanfu, BYD’s 43-year-old founder and chairman, was interviewed on CNN’s Talk Asia by Andrew Stevens this week. Pioneering the development of electric cars, Wang said that his target is to be the world’s leading carmaker by 2025. If the company’s 2009 goal of 400,000 units is achieved, it will be among the top three local car makers in China.
  • Chery is forecasting sales to increase by 17.7 percent to 419,000 cars. 15 new models on three platforms will be introduced and the company plans to improve both quality and service.
  • Geely, which is now churning out London taxicabs in Shanghai for export, will launch four “B-segment” models and will start producing SUVs, MPVs, and mid- to-high-end passenger cars as it seeks to upgrade its image. Geely plans to increase sales by 25 percent to 290,000 units in 2009.
  • If Chang’an is successful in achieving an impressive 30 percent increase in sales to 500,000 units in 2009, it will establish a clear leadership position as China’s largest local car maker.
  • SAIC Roewe/MG plans to increase sales by 70 percent to 60,000 units.

By way of contrast, FAW-VW is targeting a 10 percent increase; FAW-Toyota, 8 percent; Shanghai-GM, 7 percent; SAIC-GM-Wuling, 10 percent; Beijing-Honda, 20 percent and Dongfeng-Nissan, 10 percent.

Make no mistake about it; the global auto industry is now in a major transition, with the industry’s center of gravity shifting to China. If the local carmakers achieve their aggressive plans for 2009, their march to ultimate dominance of the China market will have begun.

One Response to “China’s Car Makers Optimistic for 2009”

  1. Jack, I recall reading the astounding 8 million figure in your book. What are the projections by the end of 2010? Will China crack 10 million cars/year? What I have difficulty grasping is how many of these cars of the “heavier-polluting” variety, and how many are the smaller Chery, VWs, or Minis that proliferate in the big cities?