On April 22, 2007, the Shanghai International Auto Show was officially opened. As one of the most important A-class auto shows in the world, the Shanghai Auto Show not only brings together the world's leading multinational car producers, but also several major domestic auto manufacturers, providing them with a platform to showcase their own brands, latest research and achievements. Once again, China's automobile industry has attracted the attention of the world.
Ability to independently innovate significantly enhanced
During the Shanghai International Auto Show 2007, some domestic auto manufacturers such as Chery, Chang'an, and Brilliance, will display dozens of new models of their own brands.
With the debut of FAW's "Red Flag HQ3", Chery's "King Kong" and SAIC's "Rong-wei," China's domestic auto brands are showing tendency to divert their focus from low-end to middle and high-class products.
According to Jiang Lei, executive vice president and secretary general of China Automobile Industry Association, sale volume of Chinese brand vehicles accounted for 57% of the total sales volume, of which, sales of sedans hit 982,800, 25.67% of the total sedan sale volume. Jiang believes that through self-development, commissioned design and joint development, Chinese auto manufacturers have greatly improved their independent innovation capacity in recent years.
According to statistics from the China Automobile Industry Association, China's auto output surged from more than two million cars in 2001 to more than 7.2 million in 2006. The total auto output is expected to reach 8.5 million in 2007, an increase of 15%.
At present, China is the world's third largest automobile producer and second largest new car sales market.
Chinese-made autos enter international market
In March 2007, exports of Chery, a brand that is widely accepted in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, exceed 10,000 for the first time at 10,019. Chery continues to lead in the Chinese auto export market. Chery said that its export volume is very likely to hit 100,000 this year.
According to the Annual Report on China's Automobile Exports 2006, published by the China Association of Import and Export of Electromechanical Products early this year, China exported cars to a total of 186 countries and regions in 2006, 7 more than in 2005.
On April 16, the vice chairman of the State Development and Reform Commission Zhang Guobao said at the Sixth Congress of China Association of Automobile Industry that China's auto exports have expanded rapidly in recent years. In 2006 the import and export of automobiles and auto parts had a surplus of US$2.2 billion, successfully reversing the long-term auto trade deficit. This shows that Chinese-made autos have indeed entered the international market and that the Chinese auto industry has become an international industry.
Statistics from the General Administration of Customs show that total national auto merchandise export was valued at US$28.144 billion at the end of 2006, an increase of 42.76% over the same period of the previous year.
Chinese auto sector still faces challenges
According to statistics from the International Automobile Manufacturers Association, China's output of large and medium-sized passenger vehicles accounted for 33% of the world's output in 2005, the biggest percentage of any country. China has therefore become the world's largest manufacturer of passenger vehicles. In addition, China is currently the world's largest motorcycle producer and consumer. According to statistics from the China Automobile Industry Association, the national motorcycle output is approaching 20 million, accounting for over half the world's total output.
Despite the fact that China has become a large automobile manufacturer, experts believe that China's automobile industry is still in its early stage of development. It still needs to improve its capacity for independent innovation and the readjustment of auto the industrial structure needs to be accelerated. In addition, it is also confronted by serious external environment challenges such as energy, transport and environmental protection.
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