It’s easy to become blase about China’s auto market, especially now that growth there has gone from white hot to merely off-white hot.
Up 15 percent in 2016? Ho-hum.
But just stop and marvel for a moment at the volume even a plateauing Chinese market represents — 24 million passenger vehicles last year, according to IHS Markit. Twenty-four million!
With numbers like that, it ought to be China — not the U.S., Europe or Japan — that dictates the future of what we call global vehicles.
Indeed, it most certainly will be.
Already, the Chinese market has exhibited all the diversity and dynamism of the U.S. market, embracing locally made economy cars, tech-laden European luxury sedans, SUVs and even a bit of Detroit muscle.
From here, the changes will come fast. China’s bureaucracy is world-class, but when it sets its mind on, say, an all-electric fleet, that one-party system can overcome legislative gridlock pretty quickly, and the auto lobby can do little to stop it. (See also: California.)
Sure enough, China’s industry ministry hinted at the mother of all zero-emission vehicle mandates last week in calling for electric vehicles and hybrids to make up at least a fifth of its vehicle sales by 2025.
Leaders in Washington may think we can wall ourselves off from economic change beyond our borders. Ministers in Tokyo appear determined to carve a hydrogen fuel cell island for themselves. But beyond those walls and moats, China will still be there, increasingly driving the future of the auto industry.
Source credit - Automotive News (http://www.autonews.com/article/20170501/GLOBAL03/170429816/-1)