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Domestic auto brands see fast export growth

By Chen Dujuan (Global Times)

08:12, November 02, 2012

Automaker Zhejiang Geely Holdings Co announced Thursday that it has already achieved its full-year export target, another domestic auto brand that has reported strong exports.

The company said its auto exports increased by 190 percent year-on-year to 81,000 units in the first 10 months of 2012 and it expects to export more than 100,000 autos in 2012, compared with 38,000 in 2011.

Other domestic auto brands are also seeing fast export growth. Industrial data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) shows that the total exports of domestic-brand cars in the first nine months climbed 27.9 percent to 785,300 units, close to the full-year figure for 2011, with Chery Automobile Co, SAIC Motor Corp, Great Wall Motors, Geely and Dongfeng Motor Corp leading the exports.

Chery exported 20,269 autos in September and 149,490 in the first nine months, Chery spokesperson Wang Wei told the Global Times Thursday.

The economic slowdown and intense competition in the domestic market have resulted in sluggish auto sales in China, with domestic brands suffering declining market share, Du Fangci, assistant secretary-general of the CAAM, told the Global Times Thursday.

"Domestic auto companies have had to look for alternative markets for survival in this situation, a major reason for the fast growth in auto exports," Du said.

Emerging economies in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Latin America are major export destinations for China's auto firms, with their products' good cost performance well received by these markets, Du noted.

However, these auto companies also face difficulties in overseas development, as they are not fully aware of the local market demands and regulations, Du noted.

"Auto firms have to enhance after-sales services in overseas markets, as the days of just selling products are over," said Du.

Chinese auto firms are speeding up their globalization plans, not only by expanding their exports, but also setting up firms and conducting overseas takeovers.

Chery said its Egyptian plant, which was built together with local firm GB Auto, has started to produce cars for the North Africa market.

The CAAM predicted in September that the 2012 exports of domestic auto brands will exceed 1 million units, compared with 814,000 in 2011.

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