BIRMINGHAM, Mich., March 11 The Chinese auto
market's sales growth in 2011 will be close to last year's 32
percent increase despite a slow start, a top Chinese industry
executive said on Friday.
The growth should be fairly close to the 2010 rate, Xing
Huang, chairman of state-owned auto parts maker China Auto
Parts & Accessories Corp (CAPAC), said at a Detroit Economic
Club event here. He was speaking through a translator.
Sales in China hit 17.2 million last year, according to
J.D. Power, following growth rates of 33 percent in 2009 and 48
percent in 2008. However, the research firm forecast growth to
slow to 11 percent this year.
In February, car sales in China rose only 2.6 percent --
the slowest pace in 23 months -- as a pre-holiday buying spree
led to a subsequent drop-off in demand in the world's largest
auto market. [ID:nTOE72006A]
The more subdued growth pattern is expected to extend into
the coming months now that automakers are relying mostly on
rational demand, not government tax incentives, to drive sales,
industry observers have said.
However, Xing said he does not see the growth in China
slowing in the next few years. He said the Chinese automakers
will probably grow at a faster rate than joint ventures with
foreign companies because the domestic brands have lower price
As one reason for the continued growth, CAPAC President
Kangren Chen cited 150 million motorcycle owners in China who
want to own cars.
However, a few pessimists, such as Rao Da, head of the
semi-official China Passenger Car Association, have projected a
more than 10 percent fall of auto sales for the full year.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit, editing by Matthew