Li Shufu, the Chinese billionaire chairman of both Volvo Cars and local automaker Geely Automobile, said the government should open the automotive sector more to foreign brands, to further stimulate competitiveness.
Today, China’s auto sector – the largest in the world in terms of sales – is deeply regulated and limited by the government: any foreign brand needs to work with a local carmaker and has many rules in place, limiting the decision making process.
“It’s best if it’s completely open, like in the U.S. and Europe; whoever wants to produce cars can do it,” Li said in an interview. “This is fair to us, it’s fair to everyone. It would completely allow the role of the market and perhaps we will develop better.”
Geely, the local automaker that also owns Sweden’s Volvo Cars, battles foreign brands domination, with its sales slumping 29 % during the first six months of the year, and rising to only 187,186 vehicles. The government also talked about auto industry consolidation, claiming that automakers who fail to meet the current limit for minimum annual production levels – 1,000 passenger cars or 50 medium to heavy trucks – would see their permits canceled. The world’s biggest auto market has around 110 car and truck brands.