China to surpass Europe car production in 2013

Most of the European car makers see turbulent period ahead.

New Statesman
PSA Peugeot Citroen plant in Paris. Photograph: Getty Images.

China is forecasted to manufacture 19.6 million cars and other light vehicles in 2013 compared to 18.3 million in Europe.

The projections for Europe include countries such as Russia and Turkey apart from the European Union.

In 2012, Europe produced 18.9 million cars and related vehicles, while China made 17.8 million. Global car sales are valued at about $1.3tn a year. According to the projections, car manufacturing in China in 2013 is anticipated to be 10 times higher than in 2000.

Since the 2008-09 economic downturn, the European car companies saw decline in production as they found severe difficulties to produce, sell and market.

Scott Corwin, an automotive expert at the Booz & Co consultancy, told the FT that even with relatively strong growth projected in vehicle output and demand in both the US and China, these markets alone won’t do much to pull [the whole world] forward.

Mr Corwin also cautioned that even with a continuation of the recent rise of the car industry in China, many vehicle markers doing business there “are struggling to make much money” as a result of tough competition and the fact that the market is made up of large numbers of small cars, for which profit margins for manufacturers are small.