Carmakers strive to increase sales in China

By Kim Yon-se
  • Published : Apr 23, 2012 - 20:33
  • Updated : Apr 23, 2012 - 20:58
Renault to produce some models in world’s largest automobile market

BEIJING ― Global carmakers including Korean players are competing to increase their market share in China, the world’s largest automobile market.

In the past several years, China has overtaken the Untied States in vehicle sales per annum.

While General Motors and Volkswagen had dominated the Chinese market, Hyundai Motor has continued to increase its share since it established the Beijing Hyundai corporation and factories a decade ago.

“At least 50 percent of the taxis running Beijing streets were produced at Beijing Hyundai factories,” a Hyundai Motor executive said.
Renault-Nissan chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn (second from right) poses with the SM7, dubbed Talisman in China, during the Auto China 2012 in Beijing on Monday. (Renault Samsung Motors)

While the Avante sedan, dubbed the Elantra in China, accounts for most of the Hyundai taxis, more and more motorists have been buying upper segment cars including the Sonata, he said.

Beijing Hyundai has six models: the Sonata, Avante (Elantra), Tucson, Sonata NFC, Accent and Elantra Yuedong.

According to statistics, the cumulative sales of Beijing Hyundai have increased to more 1.5 million, sales income over 150 billion yuan and total tax to 16.5 billion since Beijing Hyundai was established. Some 100,000 jobs were also created through the brand.

Beijing Hyundai also lays claim to revitalizing Beijing’s manufacturing industry, contributing to the capital’s economy and promoting social harmony.

Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors have been successful in expanding their market share in China, taking nearly 10 percent of the market.

The companies, ranked third in the Chinese market, have the short-term goal of overtaking GM, which has about 11 or 12 percent market share.

Volkswagen has the top position in China with market share of about 18 percent.

Now French automakers, such as Renault and Peugeot-Citroen, are carrying out aggressive marketing and production to attract the rapidly growing number Chinese drivers.

“A great number of Beijing citizens are struggling to obtain the right to purchase a car,” a Chinese automobile dealer said.

“At the end of 2010, the Chinese government set restrictions in total monthly sales of global carmakers as the vehicle market expanded too rapidly,” he said.

Renault-Nissan Group also plans to produce popular models, including several sedans of its Korean subsidiary, Renault Samsung Motors.

Group chairman & CEO Carlos Ghosn expressed willingness to manufacture some Renault-Nissan models including the Infiniti series in China in the coming years.

Renault Samsung unveiled the All-New SM7, dubbed Talisman, during the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition ― also called Auto China 2012 ― which kicked off on Monday.

This will mark the first time that the SM7 has been exported to China. The company has been selling three models ― the SM3, SM5 and QM5.

China has been the world’s largest automobile market for three consecutive years. About 18.5 million units were sold in the market in 2011.

Market observers predict automobile sales in China will come to 20 million units this year.

By Kim Yon-se, Korea Herald correspondent