Foreign luxury cars sales boom in China

Updated: 2006-11-22 08:35

Sales of luxury cars are booming in China and the world's top luxury automakers see China as an increasingly important market.

Chrysler Group Chief Executive Officer and President Tom LaSorda speaks beside an original Chrylser 300 during a presentation at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition November 18, 2006. The head of the Chrysler unit of DaimlerChrysler said on Saturday the company will target cost cuts of US$1,000 per vehicle by increased outsourcing beyond North America and other savings. [Reuters]

At the ongoing Beijing Auto Show, organizers set aside 4,000 square meter of space for luxury cars, where top brands, including Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce and Spyker, are showcasing their new models.

On the second day of the show, a Rolls-Royce Phantom on display was bought for 6.6 million yuan (825,000 U.S. dollars) and a Bentley Arnage Mulliner sold for 6.48 million yuan, the Beijing Morning Post reported Tuesday.

Last year Bentley sold 64 cars on Chinese mainland market, 30 of which were Bentley Arnage models, with the minimum price 3.88 million yuan.

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Statistics show that Land Rover, Jaguar and BMW also experienced surging sales in China in 2005. Jaguar said that sales in China rose by 220 percent in 2005 over the previous year. Land Rover sold 1,415 vehicles in the Chinese market, up 107 percent year on year.

Meanwhile, China has become the fastest growing market for BMW, which sold 23,595 cars in the country, up 52.4 percent.

China imports more than 100,000 cars every year, most of which are cost more than 40,000 U.S. dollars, according to customs figures.

Imports reached 147,000 cars, valued at 4.84 billion U.S. dollars, for the first eight months this year, up 56.1 percent and71.8 percent respectively from the same period of 2005. The rise in unit price shows that luxury cars are now a key import sector.

Analysts say every year top brands, like Rolls-Royce and Bentley, sell 20 percent of their output in Asia, with China being the most buoyant market.

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