China posted vehicle output and sales of 18,418,900 and 18,505,100 units respectively in 2011, up 0.84 and 2.45 percent on a yearly basis, the lowest growth rate in 13 years, according to statistics released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) on January 12.
The slowdown of the market can be mainly attributed to the country’s macro-economic control and expiration of preferential policies.
The country produced and sold 14,485,300 and 14,472,400 passenger vehicles during the same period, a rise of 4.23 and 5.19 percent respectively.
Commercial vehicle sector, on the other hand, saw a comparatively gloomy picture with output and sales amounting to 3,933,600 and 4,032,700 units in 2011, down 9.94 and 6.31 percent on a yearly basis.
PV growth better than industry average
China sold 10,122,700 sedans in 2011, up 6.62 percent year-on-year. Sales of microvans were down 9.38 percent to 2,258,300 units during the same period, said CAAM.
The SUV and MPV sectors outperformed the PV sector. China produced and sold 1,602,600 and 1,593,700 SUVs in 2011, up 19.78 and 20.19 percent year-on-year. MPV sector posted output and sales of 506,200 and 497,700 units, an increase of 12.24 and 11.74 percent compared with the same period of the previous year.
Sales of sedans of 1.6L and below totaled 7,167,500 units in 2011, an increase of 8.08 percent year-on-year and 1.46 percentage points higher than sedan growth. Sedans of this displacement range took up 70.8 percent of the sedan sector, up 0.95 percent compared with the same period a year earlier.
However, as the bar rises for energy efficient vehicles that can enjoy subsidies, small displacement vehicles may not keep on growing in 2012 as it did in 2011, said CAAM.
Passenger vehicles made by Japanese, German, U.S., Korean, and French carmakers took up 19.40, 16.48, 11.00, 8.10, and 2.79 percent of the market share respectively in 2011 in China. Sedans produced by these carmakers accounted for 21.61, 21.28, 15.03, 8.98, and 3.99 percent of the market share respectively in the sedan segment, according to CAAM.
Independent brands of the PV segment sold 6,112,200 units in 2011, down 2.56 percent year-on-year. The sector saw a shrinking market share of 42.23 percent, down 3.37 percentage points compared with the same period of the previous year.
The phasing out of sales tax breaks and the higher threshold in fuel efficiency requirements for subsidies for energy efficient vehicles were part of the major factors that led to sales decrease of independent brands.
CV sales dragged down overall market
The top 10 commercial vehicle makers by sales in 2011 were Dongfeng, Beiqi-Foton, FAW, Jinbei, JAC, JMC, CNHTC, Chang’an, Great Wall and NAC, with respective sales of 648,300, 632,300, 279,300, 272,700, 270,500, 183,800, 159,100, 134,900, 121,700 and 113,800 units. They sold a combined 2,816,400 commercial vehicles in 2011, taking up 70 percent of the commercial vehicle market.
The bus (including bus chassis) segment witnessed output and sales as 482,600 and 487,900 units in 2011, up 7.88 and 10.11 percent year-on-year. Boosted by logistics demands among cities, light buses have become a growth engine in the bus segment.
On the truck side, a total of 2,653,700 and 2,702,000 units were produced and sold in 2011, down 7.04 and 4.57 percent year-on-year. Semi-tractor trailers posted output and sales of 244,300 and 257,600 units, dropping 32.61 and 27.37 percent respectively. Output and sales of truck chassis fell 21.35 and 13.31 percent to 552,900 and 585,300 units during the period.
China will keep on stimulating auto export in 2012, said Dong Yang, secretary general of CAAM. According to CAAM, China exported 814,300 vehicles in 2011, up 49.45 percent.
Imported car sales: an emerging growth engine
According to data from China Automobile Trading Co., Ltd. (CATC), 797,000 units of imported cars were sold in China through October, up 28.5 percent year-on-year, much higher than the 9.4 percent growth of domestic-made passenger vehicles during the same period.
Imported vehicles with small displacement are well received by Chinese consumers, with the market share of 3.0L and below models up from 73.3 percent in 2009 to approximately 80 percent in 2011. Vehicles with displacements of 2.0L and below will be a major part of car import, predicted CATC, which said that China can be no exception of the world trend of small displacement, lightweight and energy-saving vehicles.
Chang’an, GAC and Chery saw decrease compared with the same period in 2010 while other enterprises increased by some extent with Great Wall the fastest. The top 10 automakers sold 16,091,400 vehicles in 2011, accounting for 87 percent of the total market.
The top 10 PV makers sold 8,307,500 sedans in 2011, accounting for 57 percent of the PV sector. Due to the earthquake in Japan in March 2011, Japanese automakers and their joint ventures in China have been affected heavily. Dongfeng-Nissan was the only Sino-Japanese JV in the top 10. SAIC, on the other hand, grabbed the top three places on the list, which made it the biggest winner of the year as its sales surpassed 4 million units in a single year for the first time.
The top 10 carmakers sold 6,472,200 units in 2011, taking up 64 percent of total car sales.
Sales of the 10 best-selling car models totaled 2,125,500 units in 2011, taking up 21 percent of the sedan market.
Great Wall’s Haval SUV brand grew at a slower pace compared with 2010 while the other top four boosted sales in 2011. The above five brands sold a total of 667,900 SUVs, taking up 42 percent of the segment.
The Dongfeng Joyear, Buick GL8, and Volkswagen Touran outrun the whole industry in 2011. The top five MVP brands delivered 270,500 units in 2011, good for 54 percent of the MPV segment.