Monday, January 12, 2009

Mid-, high-end sedan '08 sales growth slows to 3%

China's sales growth of mid- and high-end sedans in 2008 saw a staggering slowdown to 3% from the glorious 32% growth rate of 2007, and as the financial crisis is spilling over into 2009, the market competition will get more fierce, said today.

According to the latest data from China Passenger Car Association, the sales of mid- and high-end sedans in the Chinese market reached about 1.04 million units in 2008, accounting for 17% of the passenger vehicle sales. Though the market share had no big change, the growth rate slowed down sharply from the 32% of 2007 to the meager 3% last year.

In 2008, the top three best-selling mid- and high-end sedan models in China were the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Passat Lingyu. The three models locally made in China by joint ventures sold nearly 440,000 units together, accounting for over 40% of the market segment, with the remaining 60% or less of the market shared by other more than 20 brands.

GAC Honda's Accord sold 170,309 units while GAC Toyota's Camry 152,838 sold units, but the license-plate registrations of Camry hit 147,000 units, against Accord's 144,000 units. The two Guangzhou-based Chinese ventures of Japanese carmakers will continue their competition in China's mid- and high-end sedan market this year.

The Passat Lingyu sedan launched by Shanghai VW four years ago retained its third place by selling 113,000 units, slightly down from the 117,000 units of 2007. This fall was partly due to the emerging new brands of Dongfeng Nissan's Teana and FAW VW's Magotan, but Passat Lingyu still led the 4th best-seller by 40,000 units.

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