| BEIJING, April 20
BEIJING, April 20 Strong demand for new
automobiles in China has laid the foundations for the next leg
of business for carmakers BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz:
the second-hand premium car market.
China's auto market is the world's biggest and is set to
grow between 8 percent and 10 percent this year, fuelled by
increasingly affluent buyers, who use them for the daily
commute, with some opting for luxury brands as a status symbol.
"We are ramping up the second-hand sales business. We have
290 dealers who offer certified pre-owned Audis," Rupert
Stadler, chief executive of Volkswagen's premium
brand, Audi, said during the Auto China show in Beijing.
"Cars that would normally have been sold on within families
are increasingly coming back to dealers, offering an opportunity
for additional revenue from the after-sales business," Stadler
The amount of business clinched by some Chinese dealers
points to substantial future growth, auto executives said.
"A top dealer in the United States sells 2,500 cars, in
Germany between 600 and 800 cars," Stadler said. "In China, we
have some dealers that sell between 1,500 and 3,000 cars."
Audi, which expects China to contribute 40 percent of its
sales by 2020, plans to train 40,000 to 50,000 new sales staff a
year by 2017 to meet growing demand for brand-new and used cars,
Rival German carmaker BMW AG plans to train 25,000
people this year to work on dealerships in China, partly due to
the rising potential of used cars.
"Used cars are still a relatively small part of the
business," said BMW board member Ian Robertson. "In Europe, for
every new car sold, a dealer will also sell an old one. Here,
the ratio of new and used cars is that you only sell one used
car for every 10 new cars."
Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler AG is also eyeing the
second-hand car business in China, with plans to open 100 new
dealerships this year and set up showrooms in 40 new cities.
"The secondhand car market is growing, and we are investing,
together with our dealers," said Hubertus Troska, Daimler board
member responsible for greater China.
In 2013, China's auto sales grew 13.9 percent to 21.98
million vehicles, with the luxury passenger segment
outperforming the overall market, registering 20 percent growth.
Mercedes-Benz's sales in China, excluding Hong Kong, rose 11
percent to 228,000 in 2013 and it has plans to sell more than
300,000 cars a year by 2015.
(Editing by Lee Chyen Yee and Clarence Fernandez)