RL Polk UK estimates that the Chinese market will overtake Japan’s forecast car registration trend during 2007 and that China will register 5.26 million cars during 2008 compared with Japan’s 4.90m.
In 2005 the Chinese market, with 3.87m passenger car registrations, had already climbed into third place, overtaking the 3.34m German market.
By 2010 this number of 3.87m is expected to reach a figure of 6m.
If registration numbers follow the expected growth pattern through to 2016 this number could reach 7.57m and possibly exceed the US market, which is forecast to drop to 7.50m (down from 7.55m in 2005).
Todd Fleischhauer, RL Polk UK country director, said: "The Chinese marketplace is clearly the most exciting from a global perspective. It already encompasses a total of 18.8 million vehicles and while it awaits the consequential used car market boom, all vehicle and parts manufacturers will be closely monitoring the situation and its opportunities."
While the lower-medium segment remains the largest in China, it is the MPV segment which has witnessed the largest year-on-year growth, with Q1 figures for 2006 showing a 50.4% increase. The sports segment has seen a 26.4% drop over the same period.
The Wuling Zhiguang is the best-selling model in China with 74,733 registrations in the first quarter, with the most-improved figures belonging to the Chevrolet Shanghai with an almost 1000% increase quarter on quarter in Q1 2006.
The information is sourced within China by Polk’s joint venture Beijing-Polk Catarc and is updated monthly, broken down by: vehicle segment; make, model & variant; province, city, district and postal code.