China's car industry overtakes US


China's car industry overtakes US

By Chris Hogg
BBC Shanghai Correspondent

Buick is marketed as a luxury brand in China

New figures have shown that in December, for the first time ever, there have been more cars sold in China than the United States.

A total of 735,000 automobiles were sold in China last month, compared to 656,976 vehicles were sold in the US.

The reason, analysts say, is that the slump in sales in China has been less severe than the slump in the US - not exactly a cause for celebration for carmakers here.
But the truth is there are worse places to be in the car business than in China at the moment.

It's one of the few places in the world where if you visit a car showroom you'll meet a steady stream of customers.

American appeal

Car buyers like Tang are still attracted to US brands

At lunchtime in one in Shanghai's Pudong district, Tang Liang, a gangly young man is being shown a large family car made by the US firm General Motors and its Chinese partner.

The salesman is assiduous, answering all his questions as Tang jumps in and out of the vehicle, clearly impressed by how it feels to sit in the driving seat.

"We're all quite tall in our family," he says. "Small cars aren't that comfortable."
So why is he interested in buying an American car? "I long for America," he smiles. "Its democracy. Its cars."

He's laughing, but he's not joking. He's impressed by the car.
Above him is a flag with an American eagle.

To those Chinese who can afford them US models are often more attractive than the cheaper, local alternatives, says Wu Ai Lian, the local sales manager.
Her branch sold nearly 1600 cars last year.

"Business isn't bad," she says. "GM has been number one in China for many years. People think their cars use a lot of fuel but we tell them they're safer. Nothing is more valuable than your life. American cars might use more fuel but they're good quality."

Major event

Sales are still holding up, says Wu Ai Lian, manager at a GM dealership

The streets of Shanghai are crammed with cars.

The markets for cars in the bigger cities are well developed.

There are fourteen showrooms selling the same model Tang wants in Shanghai alone.

But across the country, in the smaller cities and in the countryside, it is very different.

Car industry analyst Yale Zhang points out that in the US there are on average 800 cars for every 1000 people.

Here in China the figure's a tiny fraction of that - just 20 per 1000 Chinese.
Mr Zhang says for most Chinese buyers, the purchase of the car is still a major event. "

"Over 80% are buying their first car," he says.
"It's not just a simple transportation tool as it is in the US or in Europe. Here it tells people your social status."

Fast-growing market

China has been regarded as the fastest-growing automobile market in the world, with sales growth of over 20% per year for three years.

But last year growth slipped back to 10% after a disappointing third and fourth

GM hopes to grow its Chinese market strongly in the next few years

Nowhere is immune to the effects of the economic downturn.

This year sales in China are predicted to slow to just 5% - half of last year's figure.
Kevin Wale, the President of General Motors China, smiles as he admits that the months ahead are going to be "somewhat more challenging."

But he insists that those who've been in the car industry for a long time would recognise that any time you have a growth market is a "good year".

He's not surprised that China is challenging the US for the top spot in car sales worldwide, although he believes it will be "sometime between 5 to ten years" before China outsells the US on a regular basis.

However, higher sales numbers do not necessarily translate into higher sales value in cash terms.

"The value of those sales in the US is on average far higher than the value of those sales in China, so the revenue generated in the US market will be significantly larger than that generated in the China market for quite some time to come," he points out.

Rocky time

Car analyst Zale Yang thinks the next few months will be difficult for many of the smaller players in China's car industry.

"China has enjoyed this more than 20% growth for too long," he says, "and people in the industry have got too used to it."

"If it slows down to single digits, it will add a lot of difficulty for many smaller carmakers in China.

"We have very good reason to expect that by the end of this year or early 2010 we will see some of the smaller manufacturers leaving the industry."

Measures to help manufacturers and motorists have been introduced by the Chinese government in recent weeks.

Among them, the tax on vehicles under with smaller engines (less than 1.6 litres) has been halved to 5%.

And there are subsidies for those who want to exchange an old vehicle for a new one.

Some analysts believe that the stimulus package could boost sales by between 3% and 6% this year. The government has also promised to provide 10 billion yuan (£980m, $1.4bn) to help carmakers upgrade their technology and to develop alternative energy sources for cars and trucks. But it acknowledges more help might be needed to support its car industry in the months to come.

Why is Asia, Europe and Brazil's car industry doing better than North America.

In Europe you can get Hydrogen cars for $8,000 pounds.

Bond Girl Olga Kurylenko drives first Ford Ka; UK Ka prices start at £7,995 (external - login to view)

BC has a hydrogen hwy.

Hydrogen Highway | Welcome (external - login to view)
Oooooh! China's not gonna like you snurching his topics away from him.


BC has a hydrogen hwy.

Formerly known as the Hershey Highway?
Bull...... GM in China . China is a land of German makes
1 Volks.....2,BMW ,Audi ,Mercedes
all of the above are produced in China and are of the utmost quality .
Personally my wife drives a Volks "Polo" and I have a Benz .
I forgot .We also have a great number of Toyota ,Nissan ,Suzuki and Kia , allot more than GM cars.The most popular GM car ? .....Buick Regal .
And soon, China will be exporting cars to Canada.
Scott Free

BC has a hydrogen hwy.

Hydrogen Highway | Welcome (external - login to view)

I read the propaganda and this is simple absurd. They have buses and so forth that burn compressed hydrogen! Hydrogen in a fuel cell is one thing but this is just stupid IMO.

Hasn't anyone heard of the Hindenburg?

I have a feeling this will become known as the scorched highway.

"Trucks like these, rather than traditional fuel tankers, are used to deliver hydrogen to fuelling stations."

You have to be f*cking kidding me!?!?!
Yeah, what happened to that Hydrogen Highway? Just a photo-op for politicians. It seems to have fallen from favour.

However, there will be more than one solution to the energy problem if peak oil hits big time.
Scott Free
Take a rid on the Hindenbus!

Not to be confused with the Hindenburg.

Because we make sh*t so much better these days

Quote: Originally Posted by dumpthemonarchyView Post

And soon, China will be exporting cars to Canada.

Probably crap like everything else from China...
We spend a lot of our hard earned dollars every day on this "crap" from China.

Aren't American cars now proven to be crap? Two of the Big 3 may crater soon.

Crater, what a great word to mean destruction, I don't think people used it five years ago like they do today. I would guess thanks to asteroids, we can say, "An asteroid could crater civilization." It is verbbing a noun I think.

Here's an article on crater.
Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog (external - login to view)

Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog » Blog Archive » A Cratered Metaphor (external - login to view)

One of the US newsy networks has recently discovered the verb to crater and its use is virusing from one network to another. I understand what it means, but it makes me feel a bit lexically crapulent (external - login to view) even though I’m not offended (as you can see) by the tendency in the US to verb nouns relentlessly.

Interesting point: the American Heritage Dictionary and the Free Dictionary give us identical definitions (isn’t that naughty?). Here it is from AHD:
1. To form a crater or craters. 2. Slang a. To fall and crash violently from a great height. b. To fail utterly: “talked about how tough times were in Texas since the oil business cratered” (Stephen Coonts, Under Siege 1990, 1991 (pb)).”

Apparently Mr. Coonts introduced it and it has languished until recently. British dictionaries do not list this meaning, nor does Encarta, and Merriam-Webster lists the slang sense as “collapse, crash”, a sense I still feel is still too far from the image of a crater.

It is currently being used in reference to the precipitous fall of the stock market this month. The slang verb, therefore, is a metaphor for a fall from a great distance.

I think the reason it rubs me wrong is that it is based on the vision of a meteor falling to Earth or some other celestial body and causing a crater. But most craters are caused by explosions on Earth from geysers, bombs, or mines.

The criticial visual crater gives us is the raised rim around a hole or other indentation. How that object is created is either not a part of the definition or too far removed to provide the connection with falling and crashing.
I don’t think this usage will survive but then I didn’t think google and bling-bling had much of a chance, either.
Socrates the Greek
Chinas population is pegged at 1.4Billion, 735.000 cars sold last month represents a mere fraction of 1.4 billion, only .08%

US population is pegged at 375Million, and sold last month 657.000 cars representing a 16% of total sales.
All an all China has a lot of work to do before they can be the new kid on the block.
In fact if we look at Chinas history on toxic products we see that a person purchasing a car made in China may find in later years that he or she was traveling every day in a contaminated box…………….. No thanks.

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