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China becomes the world's No.1 auto market
Automotive News China | 2010/1/8

BEIJING, Jan 8 (Reuters) -- China's auto market, which overtook the United States as the world's largest earlier this year thanks to a raft of policy incentives, has been a major bright spot amid a global industry downturn.

Following are some key facts about China's car industry:

TOTAL SALES

In the first 11 months, a total of 9.23 million passenger cars were sold in the country, up 49.70 percent from a year earlier, data provided by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed.

Sales of branded domestic models accounted for 30 percent of total passenger vehicle sales during the period. The remainder are either made by joint ventures between foreign firms and their Chinese partners or imported from overseas.

Full 2009 data will be published as early as this week.

MARKET LEADERS

SAIC-GM-Wuling led the market with 902,507 vehicles sold during the Jan-Nov period. The firm is a joint venture between General Motors, SAIC Motor Corp, China's largest car maker, and Liuzhou Wuling Automobile.

Shanghai Volkswagen, a joint venture between Volkswagen AG and SAIC, followed with total sales of 640,620 units.

FAW Volkswagen, the German automaker's tie-up with state-owned FAW Group, sold 616,509 units in the first 11 months of 2009, ranking third.

BEST SELLING MODELS

BYD's F3 sedan was the best selling car in China in the first 11 months of 2009. The Shenzhen-based battery and car maker, backed by U.S. billionaire Warren Buffet, sold 21,853 units of F3 in the period.

Among foreign brands, Hyundai Motor Co's Elantra sold 21,857 units. The Korean firm produces Elantra in China through a production partnership with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Group (BAIC), China's fifth-largest automaker.

THE CHEAPEST MODEL

QQ, a compact sedan made by Chery Automobile, China's largest indigenous car maker, sells for 33,800 yuan ($4,951) for its basic 0.8-Litre model.

2010 OUTLOOK

BYD

BYD, which is 10 percent owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, aims to sell 800,000 vehicles next year, up from a previous target of 700,000 units. It sold 400,000 vehicles in 2009.

NISSAN

Nissan Motor aims to sell 600,000 cars in China in 2010, up from expected sales of 517,000 in 2009. Its joint venture in China aims to sell 1 million cars, trucks and buses this year, up 10.5 percent from 2009 and well ahead of a plan to reach that milestone by 2012.

TOYOTA

Toyota Motor's China sales growth is expected to slow down to about 14 percent this year from 17 percent in 2009, with a target of selling 800,000 vehicles in China. It sold 700,000 units in 2009.

FORD

Ford Motors expects to outperform the industry-wide sales growth in 2010, which is seen at 8 percent. The U.S. automaker sold 440,619 units in China last year, up 44 percent from the previous year.

OVERSEAS M&A

GEELY-VOLVO

Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, China's largest private automaker, said in December it is nearing an agreement to buy Ford Motor's Volvo Swedish cars unit. The value of the deal has been estimated at $1.8 billion.

BAIC-SAAB

BAIC bought the intellectual property for several Saab models from General Motors for $200 million. The the acquisition is believed to cut short BAIC's vehicle development plan by four to five years.

TENGZHONG-HUMMER

Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co, a little-known Chinese machinery maker, surprised investors and industry executives alike by unveiling a tentative plan in June to take over Hummer from General Motors.


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