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Factors influencing this year's car import 
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2005-08-16 09:11
China's total volume of automobile imports dropped by one third in the first half of this year, which insiders attributed to the increased production of domestic-made cars, foreign exchange rate fluctuation as well as the policy factor, Beijing-based Economic Information Daily reported Monday.

In the latter half of this year, China's car imports are expected to exceed that in the first half year, Ding Hongxiang, general manager of China Trading Center For Automobile Import told the Economic Information Daily.

The car import decrease in the period was related to the growing investment and production of Toyota, Nissan and Honda, three major Japanese auto giants in China, Ding said.

Figures showed in the first half year, China produced 30,000 Nissan cars, 10,000 Crown (Toyota) cars, 25,000 Mazda cars and 65,000 Accord (Honda) cars.

The supply growth of domestic-made cars, together with the Japanese yen's appeciation, has made it more difficult for Japanese cars to arrive in China, Ding said. Previously Japan's Toyota and Nissan companies were two major car exporters for the Chinese market.

The robust euro and yen's exchange rates in the first half of this year directly led to the high import cost for German and Japanese cars, reducing the auto import from these two countries considerably, he said.

Customs figures showed the volume of autos imported from Japan and Germany during the period dropped 61 percent and 44 percent respectively.

As China's interim period after its World Trade Organization (WTO) accession is close to an end, the government has begun to promulgate a series of new policies on auto imports, which came out quite late and brought uncertainties to car dealers, he said.

In the latter half of this year, when policies become clear andthe Renminbi is appreciated, more cars are expected to be imported than in the first half, he said.

Statistics from customs showed that in January-June this year, China imported 32,434 sedans, decreasing by about 50 percent year on year, the paper said. The number of imported off-road vehicles, however, went up by 50 percent year on year to 25,300.

Meanwhile, the off-road car imports from the United States and the Republic of Korea jumped by 220 percent and 515 percent respectively, the paper said.

Although the auto import volume had slumped in general, the price remained stable comparatively, said the paper. In the first quarter this year, the average imported car price dropped 0.05 percent, but in the second quarter, prices for most imported cars began to rebound.

The total volume of auto imports in the second half year is expected to exceed that of the first half year, but the whole year's total will likely not exceed that of last year, Ding said.

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