Growth rate stag­ger­ing

NT News - Motoring - - NEWS - By PAUL GOVER

THE num­bers in China are crazy.

Words such as out­ra­geous and con­fronting and con­found­ing also work.

It’s al­most im­pos­si­ble for an Aus­tralian to re­late to a Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion of 1.3 bil­lion peo­ple, a sin­gle city — Shang­hai, the com­mer­cial hub — with a pop­u­la­tion close to the 23 mil­lion in our whole coun­try, and a mo­tor in­dus­try grow­ing faster than any­where in the world.

In the first quar­ter of 2010, car sales in China have jumped by 72 per cent.

In just three months there were more than 4.7 mil­lion de­liv­er­ies and the full-year to­tal could be more than 18 mil­lion, which is bet­ter than the rate Amer­i­cans bought new ve­hi­cles be­fore the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

China is now eas­ily the biggest builder and con­sumer of new cars and any­one who thinks — or hopes — there will be lit­tle im­pact in Aus­tralia is kid­ding them­selves.

Less than five years ago there was lit­tle talk of Chi­nese ex­ports be­cause de­mand at home was far greater than the mo­tor in­dus­try’s abil­ity to de­liver.

But Chi­nese car­mak­ers — there are 47 in to­tal, with 21 in­de­pen­dents and 26 joint ven­tures with com­pa­nies as di­verse as Volk­swa­gen, Gen­eral Mo­tors and Suzuki — are now hint­ing at around five mil­lion cars of ex­cess pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity within five years.

That means Chi­nese cars will come, and it will not just be the Great Wall, Geely and Chery brands al­ready com­mit­ted to sales in Aus­tralia this year.

‘‘The pace of this place is ex­treme,’’ Austrade’s Chris Wright said this week. ‘‘Park your ex­pec­ta­tions.’’

He knows a vast amount about China, he first came to the coun­try in 1980, and said the ul­tra-fast devel­op­ment of the car in­dus­try was a re­flec­tion of ev­ery­thing else hap­pen­ing there.

Wright said mov­ing peo­ple off farms and into cities, where they will work in low-cost fac­to­ries, was a good way to see what was hap­pen­ing.

‘‘They are mov­ing 500,000 peo­ple,’’ he said. ‘‘They are great­ing a new city the size of Bris­bane ev­ery month.

‘‘It’s be­ing done faster than ever be­fore and on a scale never seen be­fore. Park your ex­pec­ta­tions. ‘‘We’re not see­ing some­thing sud­den here. ‘‘It is long-term, sus­tained, planned growth. ‘‘Think of 8 per cent growth, ev­ery year for 30 years, and pre­dic­tions of the same into the forsee­able fu­ture.’’

sur­pris­ing and

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