Beijing/Shanghai - Car sales in China are expected to rise on 18 million this year. Only in the first 11 months of 2010, 16.4 million cars were sold in the Middle Kingdom, according the China Association of Automobile Manufactures
In November, the association's estimated that the number of cars sold in Chine would be one million less.
The bullish car sales numbers are just one of several recent signs that the booming Chinese economy is far from slowing down, and that Chinese leaders will have to try hard to prevent it from overheating.
Skoda, a Czech car manufacturer and a subsidiary to Germany's Volkswagen, wants to have its fair share of this emerging market. Skoda announced that in 2013, it will start to manufacture its compact SUV Yeti in its factory in Shanghai.
China's demand rose by 83 percent
Skoda's interest in China is understandable. In the first half of 2010, the Czech carmaker sold 378,747 cars - 15 percent more compared to the previous year. This was above all thanks to the Chinese demand, which rose in the first months by 83 percent in a year-to-year comparison.
Between January and June 2010, the Chinese bought more than 84,000 Skoda cars, and their appetite is still growing. In July, they bought 15,000 cars - an increase by a more than 50 percent compared to the previous year. In August, the Chinese bought nearly 56,000 Skoda cars, which means a year-to-year increase of 11.5 percent.
"In China, our sales broke the barrier of 100,000 cars. We are particularly happy about the increasing interest of customers in our Skoda GreenLine models," new head of the carmaker Winfried Vahland said in August.
China has already overtaken the USA in its position of the largest car manufacturer, by selling 13.65 million cars this year, which means a staggering year-to-year increase of 46 percent. The production grew year-to-year by 48 percent, with 13.79 million manufactured cars.
Yeti goes to China
In spite of this growing competition, Skoda's breathing space in China is still comfortable. If China's car sales indeed reach the estimated 18 million, it will be a year-to-year sales growth of 30 percent.
Skoda Yeti is already the fourth Skoda model to be produced in China.
"Companies Skoda Auto and Shanghai Volkswagen are successfully cooperating ever since the Skoda brand came to China in 2006 and experienced a quick and significant growth there," president of Skoda China Alfred Rieck said. According to Rieck, the production of Yeti in Shanghai reflects the long-term interest of Skoda in the Chinese market.
Emerging markets such as China or India will guarantee the growth of Skoda's sales in the years to come, and it is likely that the target yearly production of 1.5 million cars will be reached before the year 2020, as planned by Winfried Vahland.