While China’s government has forecast that industry growth in the automotive sector will reach 8% by 2020, and account for 7.5% of its GDP, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) has recently released its own October figures, highlighting a growth in imports, but indicating that exports were down.
In China, the number of vehicles exported in October stood at 73,500 units, which is down 5.9% on September’s figures, and down 18% year-on-year. Around 43,700 passenger cars were exported in October, which is down 9.7% on September, and 25.3% year-on-year, while commercial vehicle exports were 29,800 units in October, up slightly by 0.3% on September, but down 8.7% year-on-year. Overall, 435,500 passenger cars have been exported in the first ten months of the year, down 11.6% when compared with last year, and 300,900 commercial vehicles were exported, a drop of 4.1% when compared to 2013.
However, imports are up. In September, 111,400 automobiles were imported, which is an increase of 6.4% year-on-year, and the export figure stood at 90,600, an increase of 22.9% year-on-year. Across the first three quarters of 2014, the total number of imported automobiles stood at 1,066,200 units, up 26% year-on-year, but imports stood at 691,700 units, which is down 3% compared to 2013.
Gray market plans
They are likely to go up further given recently stated plans to boost flows that include the trial programme for parallel vehicle imports to the Shanghai free trade zone. The move would allow the import of vehicles through channels that were alternative to carmakers’ preferred distribution networks. It is thought this could lower the price of vehicles as carmakers sought to compete with the ‘gray market’ in cheaper imports.
The State Council also said that it would speed up testing related to the management of automatic import permits, allowing paperless customs clearance, as well as improving the process for customs duty collection and management.
“To initiate a strategy to promote imports and gain access to more imported technologies, products and services can help to meet domestic demand for high quality products, promote entrepreneurship and innovation and boost economic structural upgrading,” said the State Council in a statement.
Production and sales
Vehicle production in the country has grown slightly over the last month. In October, production and sales of automobiles in China was 2,044,200 units, and 1,987,200 units. This is up by 1.9% and 0.2% when compared to last month, and 6.7% and 2.8% year-on-year. In total for 2014 so far, production of automobiles was 19,270,100 units, with sales at 18,988,100 units. This is an increase of 7.9% and 6.6% year-on-year. However, the growth rate went down by 5.7 percentage points, and 6.9 percentage points compared with 2013.
For passenger cars, production stood at 1,757,800 units in October, and sales were 1,708,900 units. This is an increase of 1.9% and 0.8% when compared with September, and 10.4% and 6.4% compared to 2013. Production growth compared with September increased by one percentage point, and sales remained similar to last month. Across the first ten months of the year, production of passenger cars stood at 16,143,900 units, and sales stood at 15,864,400 units, an increase of 11.2% and 9.8% respectively, year-on-year.
For commercial vehicles, October production figures stood at 286,400 units, with sales at 278,300 units. This is up 1.3% in production, but sales were down 3.2% compared to September. When compared with October 2013, production is down 11.7%, and sales are down 14.9%. Across the first ten months, production of commercial vehicles was 3,126,200 units, and sales of 3,123,700 units. This is again down 6.3% and 7.1% year-on-year.