Although new car sales in China are slowing, deliveries of imported cars are still growing, with import sales looking set to exceed one million by the end of the year.
In the first 11 months of 2011, sales of imported vehicles have reached 900,000 units, up 31 percent than the amount of vehicles sold in the entire 2010. From the beginning of the year through October, 797,000 vehicles were imported in China, according to Ding Hongxiang, chairman of China Automobile Trading, quoted by the Beijing Morning Post at the Eighth China Imported Auto Forum. The year-on-year increase of 29 percent for imported vehicles is far above the 9.4 percent sales growth rate for domestically manufactured vehicles.
The most sought after import cars are the SUVs, accounting for a total of 55 percent of all vehicles imported in 2011. Despite the fact that a large portion of these SUVs are made in Japan, which faced production disruptions after the March earthquake and tsunami, sales of SUVs have remained high in China.
Vehicles with engine displacements under 3.0-liter were the most popular, making up nearly 80 percent of all cars imported to China. Favorable government policies and consumer preference were the driving forces behind this. The luxury segment remains one of the strongest in the imports category, with sales of the top six manufacturers increasing over 50 percent in 2011.