China Automobile Trading Company, China’s largest dealers of imported cars, made public the imported car situation report, which shows that 1 million cars were imported in 2011, an increase of 30.1% from 2010. Only 820,000 received license plate numbers, the others being probably used as off road vehicles (diggers, tractors and mobile cranes).
In 2010 sales reached 770,000 units, 93% more than 2009. Taking into consideration that 2011 saw a 27% increase for imported passenger vehicle sales, it is expected that 2012 will bring a sale of over 1 million vehicles. CATC thinks that this raise is due to the appreciation of the Chinese Yuan, but also because of the debt crisis in Europe.
In 2012 it is expected a growth of only 20%, with focus on models such as the SUV, which already has long waiting customers lists. Other models are harder to sell, such as the flagship VW Phaeton, which although on discount, the sales are relatively slow.
The Chinese auto market is in a strange situation where it imports more than produces. 2012 might bring a potentially sale of 500,000 to 600,000 cars to be sent out of China.