CHANGCHUN: China's production of automobiles since the beginning of this year hit 10 million units on Tuesday, making it the third country in the world to surpass the annual output mark, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).
The 10 millionth vehicle -- a new Jiefang (Liberation) truck model -- rolls off the assembly line in FAW, China's oldest automotive group, making China the third country in the world to surpass the annual output mark on Oct 20, 2009. [Asianewsphoto]
Only the United States and Japan have previously passed the annual production figure of 10 million.
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang referred the achievement as a "milestone in the Chinese history of auto industry development" in a congratulatory letter to industry representatives at a celebration sponsored by the CAAM and China Society of Automotive Engineering at the First Automobile Works (FAW) Group Corp. headquarters in Changchun, capital of northeast China's Jilin Province.
Participants watched the 10 millionth vehicle -- a new model Jiefang (or Liberation) truck -- roll off from the assembly line in FAW, China's oldest automotive group founded in 1953. The company produced China's first domestic model under the Jiefang brand in 1956.
Zhang said in the letter that by meeting the production mark, China had become one of the world's largest auto manufacturing countries. The achievement was important in bolstering the country's overall economic growth.
Miao Yu, vice minister of Industry and Information Technology, said at the ceremony that China was still marching towards its goal of becoming a heavyweight player in the world's auto market.
"A heavyweight auto manufacturing country has to meet three requirements: internationally competitive auto brands, considerable global market share and a grasp of core and new technology development trends in the industry," he said.
China's automotive industry has sustained a robust growth despite the global economic slowdown this year, thanks to the government support package for the sector at the beginning of the year.
Under the package, the government lowered the purchase tax on cars with engines under 1.6 liters from 10 percent to 5 percent, allocated allowances to farmers to upgrade farm vehicles and to mini-truck and mini-van owners to upgrade their vehicles.
As a result, the country's auto output surged 78.85 percent year-on-year to 1.36 million units in September, while total sales hit a new monthly high of 1.33 million units, up 77.88 percent from a year earlier, the CAAM announced in a release on October 13.
Dong Yang, vice chairman of the CAAM, said China was under far more pressure from the global auto emissions control than the circumstances faced by the US and Japan, when their manufacturers hit the 10-million mark.
"The Chinese government is encouraging the sales of vehicles with small engine displacements and using new alternative energies to reduce auto emissions," he said.
He said "We expect the government to keep the stimulus policies in effect next year.
"Policies like promoting auto sales in the rural sector are effective in sustaining the growth momentum of auto sales in China," he said.
He forecast China's auto output this year would surpass 12 million units.