China's imported auto market continues to flourish with sales of 460,000 in the first seven months of this year. It represents a growth rate of 150% compared with the same period of last year.
Imported cars are no longer a poor relation of domestic cars in the Chinese market but form a sector that is developing rapidly with its own style and is more personalized to meet customers' demands, said Shen Jinjun, vice-president of China Automobile Dealers Association, speaking during the Imported Auto Expo Beijing 2010.
The growth rate of the foreign high-end auto brands such as Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus has exceeded 100 percent - far higher than that of other imported cars.
Jiang Wei, sales manager of Beijing South Star Automobile Trade Co, said the new rich in China prefer high-end US-built cars because they have generous amounts of space, reliable quality and an individualized adjustments service.
”Our best sellers are the Lincoln Navigator at a cost of 1.86 million Yuan (273,530 US dollars) and the Cadillac Escalade for 1.45 million Yuan. We have orders for these two models all the way to next January said Jiang.
Sports utility vehicles, limousines, bullet-proof cars and saloons made in the US are proving to be popular amid the current enthusiasm for luxury cars and the fast economic development of recent years, Jiang added.
The average price of these high-end US-built cars is around 1.5 million Yuan, which is easily affordable to wealthy Chinese buyers. According to Jiang, 70% of buyers of high-end US-built autos are business people or government departments.
South Star Automobile Co's sales of imported US-built cars doubled in 2010. Jiang estimated the growth rate next year nationally for imported US-built cars would be 20 to 30%.
According to the company's statistics, the best sellers over the past year were Lincolns, Cadillacs, JMCs and Hummers.
Chinese government policy encourages smaller-engine cars but US imports tend to consume a lot of fuel. In consequence some auto industry insiders believe sales may face certain challenges in the near future. However, Jiang believes target buyers will not mind increased gas bills. They care more about the comfort level and interior devices in the car. Money is not a problem for them” said Jiang.
China overtook the USA as the world’s second market for luxury goods and in five years is expected to overtake the leading country, Japan, according to the World Luxury Association.