| TIANJIN, Sept 5
TIANJIN, Sept 5 China's top economic planner and
a leading government-backed research body disagreed at an auto
industry forum over whether the world's largest auto market is
facing excessive capacity after breakneck growth in 2009.
China's top 30 auto groups are expected to have a combined
vehicle capacity of 31.24 million units by the end of 2015, up
from 13.95 million units as of the end of 2009, a senior
official at the National Development and Reform Commission
(NDRC) official the forum, which ended on Sunday.
Research results from other government bodies showed planned
auto capacity in China's northeast, southwest, east and south is
even higher than the NDRC's estimate, Chen Bin said, without
Blind expansion will not only hurt the sustainable and
healthy development of China's auto industry, but also affect
the country's economy, said Chen, director of NDRC's industry
Zhao Hang, president of China Automotive Technology &
Research Center, disagreed.
"Judging from market growth rate and sales volume, China's
auto capacity is not excessive," Zhao told the forum.
"Many auto plants are working long hours, adding weekend
shifts in order to meet market demand. Can we still say we have
China has been a major bright spot amid a global industry
still struggling to recover from last year's steep downturn.
The market has shown signs of slowing down beginning in the
second quarter, but bounced back strong in August helped largely
by Beijing's subsidies for fuel-efficient cars. [ID:nTOE67N03X]
Some industry observers have said the upturn in demand could
extend to the rest of year if automakers slash their prices.
But auto executives were more cautious. [ID:nOE684005]
"Personally I believe quarter three, quarter four there will
still be growth, but I don't think there will be a 60 percent
growth," Jeffrey Shen, president and chief executive of Ford's
(F.N) car venture told Reuters.
Shen said he had maintained his previous forecast for a 15
to 25 percent expansion of the Chinese car market in 2010
despite a 59.3 percent year-on-year rise in August after a
sluggish summer. [ID:nTOE67N03X]
(Reporting by Fang Yan and Ken Wills)