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China caps boom year for autos with Guangzhou show

UserPost

2:42 pm
December 23, 2010


admin

Admin

posts 215


China's second major auto show for 2010 opened on December 21 in
Guangzhou, capping a year of record sales for the country’s booming auto
market even as it faces the prospect of slowing growth.

Unlike its glitzier cousins in Beijing and Shanghai, which are held
in alternating years and are aimed more at establishing China’s presence
globally with product launches, the Guangzhou show has always been
aimed at local buyers.

But carmakers are still putting on a show for the tens of thousands
of potential buyers expected to pour into the eighth annual Guangzhou
International Automobile Exhibition. The show, known as Auto Guangzhou,
runs from yesterday — its media day — to Dec. 27.

China overtook the United States in 2009 as the world’s biggest car
market, with sales surging 45 percent to 13.6 million vehicles. Monthly
sales this year have seen double-digit percentage growth and analysts
are forecasting that for the year as a whole, sales could climb roughly
30 percent to about 17 million vehicles.

Such explosive growth may not continue in 2011 because tax cuts and
other government incentives look set to end, although analysts say sales
will still expand at a brisk clip.

“The growth rate will slow down but it will still have healthy
momentum. We think there will be 8 to 10 percent growth for passenger
car sales next year,” said Lin Huaibin, a Shanghai-based analyst at IHS
Automotive.

For many foreign automakers, China is their best hope as they struggle with weak sales in the U.S. and other developed markets.

Marquees from around the world are represented in Guangzhou, ranging
from the mass market appeal of Hyundai Motor Co. and Suzuki Motor Corp.
to prestige offerings from Porsche AG, Maserati and Aston Martin.

Toyota Motor Corp. and its upscale Lexus division are out in force
with 45 models on display, three of them making their China debuts.
Nissan Motor Co. promises the global launch of one model of the 18 cars
it has on show, including six from its luxury Infiniti brand.

Local carmakers, which have been itching to expand overseas, also have a presence.

Geely Holding Group, little known outside China until it bought
Sweden’s Volvo Cars from Ford Motor Co. in August in a US$1.5 billion
deal, will have at least 13 models on display.

One of this year’s hot themes has been so called “green” cars, including hybrids and electric vehicles.

General Motors Corp.’s joint venture with local partner Shanghai
Automotive Industry Corp. has 23 vehicles on show, including
battery-powered version of the Chevrolet Sail, which was developed in
China specifically with the local market in mind.

Electric vehicles are well suited to China, where most drivers live
in crowded cities and typically make short trips. However, despite the
hype, they haven’t yet taken off.(SD-Agencies)


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