Bräunig: Growth in China also benefits German plants
20 per cent market share – leader in premium – "Auto China” to host many premieres
Beijing/Berlin, 20 April 2012. "China has shown very impressive development as an automotive country since the beginning of the century. From the year 2001 – when China joined the WTO – to 2011, passenger car production in China rose from 700,000 to 12.2 million units. The German automotive industry has been successfully involved in this rapid growth: one car in five sold in China bears a German group badge. A total of 18 million passenger cars were produced in Germany and China in 2011, which is almost 30 per cent of global passenger car production,” said Klaus Bräunig, Managing Director of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). He was speaking at the "2012 China Auto Forum” in Beijing today. The forum is organized by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) in the run-up to the Auto China trade fair (25 April to 2 May 2012).
Bräunig spoke of a "win-win situation” for the two automotive countries. In 2011 the German automotive industry had increased its passenger car production in China by more than 140 per cent compared with 2008, to over 2.1 million units. "The activities in China also bring benefits for the employees in Germany,” Bräunig said, and added that over the same period exports of passenger cars from Germany to China rose by 160 per cent to 566,000 units. The Chinese market, which had a volume of 12.2 million cars in 2011 and will grow to around 13 million in the current year, still offered considerable potential: "Today in China there are about 30 passenger cars for every 1,000 inhabitants, while in Germany the figure is 517,” Bräunig said.
"In China German manufacturers have a very good reputation, particularly with premium vehicles, concerning design, quality, safety, reliability and optimization of consumption. Four out of five new premium vehicles that were registered in China in 2011 came from German brands,” the VDA managing director stressed. And the German suppliers enjoyed a large share of this success thanks to their drive for innovation and the quality of their products.
The traditional partnership between Germany and China was accelerating automotive growth in China, Bräunig explained. "The win-win situation is characterized by the Chinese growth market also benefiting production at the European and German plants. For China, Germany is a reliable and important partner in technology: German manufacturers and suppliers have been active in China for many decades now. Together with the local partners they have built up and continually strengthened the industry there,” Bräunig emphasized. It was therefore especially important to the German automotive industry to have a "level playing field” and stable background conditions. The increasing globalization in the automotive industry was generating additional common interests and challenges, even if major differences still existed between the structures in the Chinese and German automotive industries.
While the German automotive industry’s export quota exceeded 75 per cent, that of the Chinese automotive industry was still fairly low, at 3 per cent. "At present the main focus is meeting the large domestic requirements, but in the medium and long term China will develop into an exporter of passenger cars,” Bräunig stated. For this reason open markets were increasingly important for China, too.
Furthermore, China should sign the UN/ECE 1958 Agreement, which represents a prerequisite for mutual recognition of the certification of vehicles and parts which can be used in many regions of the world. Up to now separate certifications have been necessary for China. China should also orient itself on international standards for CO2 regulation. A company that both exports cars to China and produces cars there should be allowed to apply this combination – as is usual practice around the world – also in the CO2 assessment of its entire fleet.
Auto China, which will open its doors to professional visitors on 25 April 2012 (the Public Days begin on 27 April), will, Bräunig said, be used above all by the German manufacturers as a "major presentation platform” for their premieres. "The new models being unveiled in Beijing show that the ‘Fascination of the car’ is reaching the middle class – with its purchasing power – more and more in this growth market. Motorists in China also want to sit behind the wheel themselves,” the VDA managing director emphasized.