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China Auto Market Larger Than US Market

In January we told you that China would catch the use in total vehicles on the road by 2013. The way things look now we may have been wrong, China could catch the US much sooner.


In February there were 778,617 new vehicles sold in the US, while in China nearly double that amount were sold-1.21 million units. Total passenger car sales were up 55% in China, but the increase in the US was only 13%. Keep in mind that in China nearly half the month is spent celebrating the Lunar New Year.

February's increase follows an even larger one in January of this year. January saw 1.1million units sold in China which is more than double January 2009. Combined January and February vehicle sales are up 84% at 2.87 million units. Meanwhile, US new vehicle sales year-to-date are up 9.9% with 1.48 million units.

Buick Excelle

The only reason we bring this up again is that US companies providing performance parts and accessories should be looking at China as a potential market. If the timeline for China's vehicle population growth is shortening, our industry will need to step up preparations to be ready for that market.

If we look at the top ten sellers in February 2010, we find that 20% are from US brands. Both are built on the Chevrolet Cruze platform, but the Buick Excelle looks more like the Opal Astra.

1. BYD F3 21,300
2. VW Landa 16,300
3. VW Santana 15,800
4. Buick Excelle (Buick Yinglang) 14,500
5. Honda Accord 14,000
6. Xiali 13,800
7. Chevrolet Cruze 13,500
8. Toyota Corolla 12,800
9. Hyundai Elantra 12,200
10. Hyundai Elantra Yue Xiang 12,100

Chevrolet Cruze

The other question is, when will Chinese vehicles start showing up in the US. For a number of years now they have exhibited in US auto shows promising to start sales here.

The new vehicle sales projection for 2010 in China is an increase of 20% according to a well placed Chinese official. In comparison, JD Power is forecasting a more conservative increase in the 7% range. As of the end of February, the increase is more than double the forecast.

If auto sales in China continue at this pace the vehicle population in China will surpass the US well before 2013! After all, starting last year, considerably more units are being sold each year in China than in the US.