Car exports skyrocket as profits slide
Mark O'Neill in Shanghai
China yesterday reported an increase of more than 60 per cent in vehicle exports in the first half of the year but profits fell for the fourth consecutive year as makers cut prices to win market share.
The data, published by the General Administration of Customs, said that in the first half, China exported 104,000 vehicles, including 23,300 passenger cars, a rise of 61.3 per cent over a year ago.
For policymakers in Beijing, the best news from the data was a fourfold increase in the number of Chinese-brand vehicles to 20,020, of which the largest share were the 13,548 by state-owned Chery Automobile, the country's eighth biggest carmaker. Its exports include its Eastar model, Tiggo sports utility vehicle and QQ compact, its top-selling model at home.
Second was privately-owned Geely Auto and third a joint venture between First Auto and Xiali.
The downside was that the increase in exports was achieved at the expense of profits. The average price of the exports in the first four months was US$7,039, the fourth consecutive annual fall.
Last year, China became a net vehicle exporter for the first time, shipping 172,800 units, up 27 per cent over 2004, mostly to Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.