Sales of passenger cars forecast to miss growth target
SHEEL KOHLI in London
China is forecast to significantly miss its official target for passenger car sales by 2000, as growth in the market fails to gather pace.
In contrast, commercial vehicle sales, according to a new study commissioned by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), will see rapid growth, becoming the second largest in the world, after the United States.
After 2000 the EIU forecasts that passenger car sales will also pick up rapidly, as local content increases, and average incomes rise.
Continuing government austerity measures, legislation to reduce traffic in Beijing and 'a primitive marketing and distribution network' on the mainland, mean that a target of three million car sales by 2000 is unlikely to be met. The EIU forecasts that new car sales will reach only 510,000 by 2000, and one million by 2005.
With per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in China only US$660 last year, most people still cannot afford a car. It said GDP per capita must reach $4000-6000 before large-scale buying takes place.
Passenger car production costs are also high with the current 140,000 yuan (about HK$130,000) price for a Santana equivalent to an ordinary employee's income for 14 years.
In the commercial vehicle sector, the EIU sees sales reaching 1.45 million by 2000, close to government targets of 1.5 million, and growing to 1.825 million by 2005.