Business / Motoring

Slower, but still top gear

By GONG ZHENGZHENG (China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-20 13:44

Slower, but still top gear

 A total of 1,134 models were displayed at the 2014 Beijing auto show. This year's show in Shanghai will exhibit 1,343 vehicles, including 109 global debuts. [Photo/China Daily]

Decelerating market growth has not punctured most automakers' plans for expansion in China

China remains a magnet for global carmakers, despite a slowdown in the world's top vehicle market as a result of the country's "new normal" of economic growth.

This is explicitly reflected by their ardor for the 16th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition which opens to the media on Monday.

The biennial auto gala, with the theme of "innovation for upgrading", has wooed nearly 2,000 carmakers and auto parts producers from 18 countries and regions this year.

With a total exhibition area of 350,000 square meters, a record number of 1,343 automobiles are competing to catch the eyes of Chinese buyers, up from the 1,134 on show in Beijing last year. Among these models, there are 109 vehicles making their global premieres.

Market slowdown

China's auto market is widely forecast to decelerate in the years to come due to the country's "new normal" of economic development which features slower but better quality growth.

Dong Yang, vice-president of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said the auto industry is also entering a "new normal" and the auto market's rate of growth will be slower this year than last year.

Last year, 23.49 million vehicles were sold in China, up 6.86 percent on the year before.

In the first quarter of this year, vehicle sales edged up by 3.90 percent to 6.15 million units, according to data from the auto association.

Xu Changming, a senior auto analyst with the State Information Center, said the era of "explosive growth" in China's auto market has ended due to the changes in the country's economic development.

Xu predicted the auto market in China will grow by 5 to 6 percent annually on average over the next five years with passenger car sales growing at a faster rate of 8 to 10 percent.

Carmakers have begun to adapt to the deceleration.

Norbert Reithofer, chairman and CEO of German premium carmaker BMW AG, said last month that the Chinese auto market is "losing steam" and will slow to a more normal pace as a result of the country's economic slowdown.

Rupert Stadler, chairman and CEO of Audi AG, recently told China Daily that the company had foreseen the "new normal" of the Chinese economy two or three years ago and that it would decelerate the vehicle market.

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