Auto exports rise, but numbers still modest

Updated: 2011-08-22 13:38

By Xu Xiao (China Daily)

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Auto exports rise, but numbers still modest

China-made cars ready at Guangzhou's Huangpu Port for shipment overseas. In the first seven months of this year, a total of 454,400 passenger and commercial vehicles were exported, up 57.3 percent from the same period last year. [Photo / Provided to China Daily] 

BEIJING - Rising auto exports from China in the first seven months of 2011 continued a trend that began last year, when for the first time more cars than commercial vehicles were exported.

From January to July, 203,000 passenger vehicles were shipped overseas at the same time 173,000 trucks ranging from light to heavy duty were exported.

The trend began in the last two months of 2010, when passenger vehicle exports surpassed commercial vehicles for the first time.

By the end of the year, 261,900 passenger vehicles had been exported. Some 230,000 commercial vehicles were shipped overseas in 2010.

Lin Huaibin, auto analyst at the Shanghai branch of global research firm HIS, told China Daily that passenger vehicle exports to South America showed particular growth. Exports to Eastern Europe, Russia and Egypt also increased, he said.

An example of the trend is Anhui province's JAC Motors. Long known for its commercial trucks, 70 percent of JAC's exports were passenger vehicles in the first seven months of 2011. Its total exports grew 280 percent in the period.

Many of the exports were destined for Brazil, where JAC shipped more than 27,000 vehicles, more than 80 percent of them passenger vehicles.

"In some developing countries in Africa and South America, small-displacement passenger vehicles have relatively large market demand," said Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the China Passenger Vehicle Association.

Cui noted Chinese cars are cheaper than imports from other countries.

Domestic automakers are also expanding sales networks to aid overseas sales, noted Marvin Zhu, a senior analyst at JD Power Asia Pacific.

Yet despite the growth, the $1.39 billion from export car sales in the first seven months of this year was only 43.2 percent of all vehicle export revenue.

Each passenger vehicle sold overseas carries a price tag of just 37 percent of the average for commercial vehicles.

In July, domestic automakers exported 73,300 vehicles, a 57.7 percent rise over the same period of 2011. The performance was better than any previous month, even before the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008.

Total exports of China-made vehicles - including passenger and commercial vehicles - from January to July totaled 454,400 units, a 57.3 percent increase over the same period of last year.

But the number of vehicles exported is still small compared to China's home market - equal to just over 4 percent of the 10.6 million vehicles sold inside the country in the period.

About 8.1 million passenger vehicles were sold in China the first seven months, up 5.89 percent from the same period of 2010, while 2.48 million commercial vehicles were sold, down 4.68 percent.