The automotive industry in China has been the largest in the world measured by automobile unit production since 2008. Since 2009, annual production of automobiles in China exceeds that of the European Union or that of the United States and Japan combined.
The traditional “Big Four” domestic car manufacturers are SAIC Motor, Dongfeng, FAW and Chang’an. Other Chinese car manufacturers are Geely, Beijing Automotive Group, Brilliance Automotive, Guangzhou Automobile Group, Great Wall, BYD, Chery and Jianghuai (JAC). In addition, several multinational manufacturers have partnerships with domestic manufacturers.
While most of the cars manufactured in China are sold within China, exports reached 814,300 units in 2011. China’s home market provides its automakers a solid base and Chinese economic planners hope to build globally competitive auto companies that will become more and more attractive and reliable over the years.
China’s automobile industry had mainly Soviet origins (plants and licensed auto design were founded in the 1950s, with the help of the USSR) and had small volumes for the first 30 years of the republic, not exceeding 100–200 thousands per year. Since the early 1990s, it has developed rapidly. China’s annual automobile production capacity first exceeded one million in 1992. By 2000, China was producing over two million vehicles. After China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, the development of the automobile market accelerated further. Between 2002 and 2007, China’s national automobile market grew by an average 21 percent, or one million vehicles year-on-year. In 2009, China produced 13.79 million automobiles, of which 8 million were passenger cars and 3.41 million were commercial vehicles and surpassed the United States as the world’s largest automobile producer by volume. In 2010, both sales and production topped 18 million units, with 13.76 million passenger cars delivered, in each case the largest by any nation in history. In 2014, total vehicle production in China reached 23.720 million, accounting for 26% of global automotive production.
The number of registered cars, buses, vans, and trucks on the road in China reached 62 million in 2009. The consultancy McKinsey & Company estimates that China’s car market will grow tenfold between 2005 and 2030. China had about 250 million cars by the end of June 2019, according to the Ministry of Public Security
The main industry group for the Chinese automotive industry is the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (中国汽车工业协会).