Is China Becoming the Next Big Automotive Market?

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The Chinese automotive market became the biggest in 2009. In 2015 alone, 21.2 million passenger vehicles were sold in China compared to just 17.47 million in the US. Underscoring these impressive numbers is one impressive fact, Chinese buyers can choose from more car brands than any other country in the world. There are over 130 car brands that Chinese buyers have available to them, and brands are continuously popping up.

If you like expensive cars in China, you may want to move. The Chinese government stacks on huge taxes to any car sold in the country with an engine capacity of more than 4 liters. These taxes result in higher end cars costing roughly double what they would in the US. This, of course, doesn’t stop the wealthier elite in China from buying them. Forbes also reports that China has the cheapest cars available in the world, with certain models starting as low as $3177 USD.

Automotive manufacturing in China is a big deal, and it is only growing bigger. The potential market for American manufacturers in China is only growing as well. In the middle of last year, GM announced that they would be introducing more than 60 new models to the Chinese market in the next 5 years, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The following infographic provided by the Short Sleeve and Tie Club details the impressive statistics of the Chinese automotive industry as a whole.

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Growth in the Chinese automotive market is slowing in recent years, but it is still growing. Even if their growth slows, it would take a long time for China to lose its spot as the largest automotive market. Statista places the US automotive market a good 6 million cars behind in 2016 – an impressive gap.

For a country that contains roughly an 8th of the entire global population (1.4 Billion), it’s no surprise that they claim the top spot for production. However, if you compare population to the total number of cars produced in the US, China still has a lot of growth left in their market. This growth will come from better economic policies in the country that enable entrepreneurship. Similar policies laid the groundwork for the current automotive boom in the country, and China’s growth is only going to continue.

For the relatively new automotive market in China, we will likely see dominance of the traditional powertrain for years to come. While Chinese manufacturers are at the cutting edge of electric cars and traditional automotive manufacturing, the industry’s relative newness to automobiles will keep autonomous and self-driving cars curtailed for longer than other markets.

The US, for example, will likely be (relatively) quick to adopt the shift to autonomous and connected vehicles due to the wealth base of the population and grounds for innovation already in place. For the traditional car, in some senses, China will remain a haven for some time to come. The market there will offer a hybrid of extremes, according to Strategyand. Much of the new innovation will take place in the Chinese foreign markets, but sales of traditional vehicles will still dominate for many decades.

While growth in China’s automotive market slowed to 7.6% this last year, it is still one of the fastest growing automotive markets in the world offering up more cars than anywhere else. Its decades of manufacturing prowess are transforming it into a prime spot for the continued growth of the good old automobile.

Images: [1], [2]

Profile photo of Trevor English
Trevor is a civil engineer by trade and an accomplished internet blogger with a passion for inspiring everyone with new and exciting technologies. He is also a published children’s book author whose most recent book, ZOOM Go the Vehicles, is aimed at inspiring young kids to have an interest in engineering.

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