Global carmakers vie for China’s vast auto market


CHANGCHUN – The 19th China Changchun International Auto Expo that kicked off on Friday in Changchun, capital of northeast China’s Jilin Province, has attracted tens of thousands of automobile enthusiasts.

A total of 155 domestic and foreign automobile brands and 128 enterprises are vying for customers’ attention with their latest models, technology and services. The expo opened at a time when China’s automobile market is recovering from a COVID-induced slump earlier this year. It serves as a platform for automakers from home and abroad to seek new opportunities in the world’s largest auto market.

The 10-day auto expo, covering a total exhibition area of 200,000 square meters, has nine indoor exhibition halls and four outdoor exhibition areas. As of 10am Sunday, more than 26,000 consumers visited the auto show, according to its organising committee.

GROWING GLOBAL INVESTMENT

FAW Toyota Motor Sales Co, Ltd displayed 15 vehicles spanning 13 models at the expo. Xu Jianxin, a sales manager with the company, said that despite the impact of the epidemic, mid- and high-end models have seen steady growth in sales during the event. The FAW Audi booth has 21 models displayed at the expo, drawing widespread attention of car enthusiasts. Meanwhile, 20 car models have been put on display in the Mercedes-Benz exhibition area.

In June, the joint venture of Mercedes-Benz and BAIC Group in Beijing saw the 4 millionth complete vehicle roll off the production line.

Arno van der Merwe, president and CEO of Beijing Benz Automotive Co, Ltd said the joint venture has learned from the advanced manufacturing system and technology of German factories and also fed back its own innovative technology and experience to the German factories.

Since the beginning of this year, global auto companies including Audi, BMW and Volkswagen have accelerated their expansion in China, launching a number of large new energy vehicle (NEV) and other projects. The Audi FAW NEV project, with an investment of over 30 billion yuan (about 4.44 billion US dollars), broke ground on June 28 in Changchun. This is Audi’s first production base specifically for purely electric vehicles in China and is expected to go into operation at the end of 2024, with a planned annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles. Volkswagen Group China is also accelerating the process of vehicle electrification. Volkswagen Anhui recently began working on a new project for manufacturing auto parts, with an investment of 130 million yuan.

Located in Hefei, capital of east China’s Anhui Province, the project has a planned construction area of around 31,000 square meters. Upon completion, it will provide auto parts including seats and accessories for NEVs produced by Volkswagen Anhui.

On May 10, Volkswagen Group China announced to establish a new digital sales and services company in Hefei. The new company is expected to complete Volkswagen Anhui’s entire value chain in terms of manufacturing, R&D, testing, marketing, and customer services.

RECOVERING MOMENTUM

OF AUTO MARKET

China is the world’s largest automobile market. In 2021, retail sales of automobiles and related products accounted for 9.9 percent of the country’s retail sales of consumer goods.

Thanks to the effective containment of COVID-19 resurgences and strong policy stimulus, China’s auto sales regained strong momentum in June after declining for three consecutive months. In June, a total of 2.5 million vehicles were sold, up 23.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). The automobile association expects steady growth for the entire year and has predicted annual vehicle sales to reach 27 million units, up 3 percent year on year.

June’s NEV sales hit a record high of 596,000 units, jumping 1.3 times from the same month of last year and accounting for 23.8 percent of the entire auto sales, CAAM data showed. In the NEV sector, Chinese brands have leaped to the forefront of the market and even outperformed joint venture enterprises in certain technical fields. Han Zhuoxuan, a salesperson with China’s leading NEV manufacturer BYD, deemed NEVs the new trend and fashion. “Consumers are eager to learn more about and try out new NEV models.”

 



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