The sales of passenger vehicles were up 21.68 percent to reach about 6.3 million units, 1.58 million more than a year ago. The commercial vehicle section saw an increase of 22.25 percent to hit 2.49 million units. This consolidated China’s position as the second largest automobile consumption market only after the United States.
Contrary to the heated market in 2007, the small displacement vehicle sector (<1.3L) experienced a shrink of 5.7 percent in 2008 occupying a 26-percent market share.
The independent branded cars accumulatively sold 1.2 million units, accounting for 26 percent of the market share. Chery, the largest independent car maker, sold 381,200 units last year, ranking No. 4 among the top 10 car manufacturers.
One noticeable phenomenon in 2007 was the rapid increase in the consumption of SUVs. The sales totaled 357,400 units, up 50.1 percent. Great Wall Hover and Chery Tiggo sold 57,800 and 50,100 units, up 99.29 and 77.99 percent respectively.
According to analysts from CAAM, production and sales in 2008 are expected to exceed 10 million units, being well on the way to challenge the No. 1 position. It is estimated that China will overtake the United States to become the largest automobile market by 2015.