Saturday, May 27, 2006

‘Japanese car makers’ China drive leaves Europeans behind’

TOKYO, MAY 25: Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co, Honda Motor Co and other Japanese carmakers overtook Volkswagen AG and other European automakers in combined market share in China last year, Fitch Ratings Ltd said on Thursday.
Japanese automakers had about 27% of the Chinese automobile market last year while the share of European automakers fell to about 22%, Matthew Kwong, associate director of Fitch Ratings said in an interview in Beijing.

‘‘Toyota and Nissan are both the drivers for Japanese automaker’s growth in China,’’ Kwong said. ‘‘Japanese companies may maintain their position’’ over the next five years.
Japanese automakers, which entered the Chinese market more than a decade after Volkswagen, are accelerating expansion in the world’s third largest vehicle market as they introduce more models and raise production capacity. Toyota, which currently has annual production capacity of 340,000 units, is investing 215 billion yen ($1.9 billion) in China and aims to boost capacity to 690,000 units.
European automakers had about half of China’s vehicle market in 2002. They may regain some share as PSA Peugeot Citroen and Volkswagen introduce new models in China, though they may not regain their leading position, Kwong said.
Chery Automobile Co, Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd and other Chinese automakers had about 25% of their domestic market, Fitch said.
Since the Chinese government opened up its automobile market in early 1980s, all major automakers have established assembly plants in China where automobile production more than doubled to 5.7 million units in 2005, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Total automobile production in China accounted for 8.9% of the world’s total in 2005 compared with 3.7% in 2000.
—Bloomberg


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