Though the Chinese automobile industry has a relatively long history, for the past ten years it has been in what can only be described as rapid development. In 2008, over 9.3 million automobiles were manufactured in China, surpassing the United States as the second largest automobile maker. In 2009, over 13.79 million automobiles were manufactured in China, surpassing Japan as the world’s number one manufacturer of automobiles.
The following table shows Chinese Automobile production by year:
In 2006, China surpassed Japan to become the number two automobile market in the world. In the first quarter of 2009, China has surpassed the United States as having the largest car market in the world and due to the current economic crisis may hold on to that title for some time. For the full year 2009, China had total sales of 13.64 million automobiles and has, in fact, become the largest automobile market in the world.
The first modern automobile factory in China was First Automobile Works, commonly referred to as FAW, which broke ground in 1953 and began production in 1956. It is still in business today and is one of the top three automobile manufacturers in China.
Several other automobile factories were setup during the sixties and later but it was during the 90s when many, many enterprises entered the industry. Today there are dozens of automobile manufacturers in China. Some of them originated from the defense industry while others were developed from old state-owned companies. Still others, such as Geely Automobile and Great Wall Motors, are privately owned companies.
It has become common practice in recent years for automobile companies to enter into joint ventures with or to purchase interests in other automobile companies. It is, therefore, a little harder to ascertain who owns what. But the following list can generally be considered Chinese automobile manufacturers:
Beijing Automobile Works (BAW)
Beiqi Foton Motor Company
Brilliance China Automotive
BYD Auto Co.
Chang Feng Motor
Changhe Machinery Factory
Chery Automobile Company
Dongfeng Motor Corporation (DFM)
First Automobile Works (FAW)
Geely Automobile Company
Gonow Automobile Co.
Great Wall Motor Company
Harbin Hafei Motor Co.
Hebei Zhongxing Automobile Co.
Heibao Auto (Shandong HIPO)
Hunan JNAN Automobile Manufacturing Co.
Liaoning Shuguang Automotive Corp.
Qingling Motors Co.
Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC)
Shanghai Maple Automobile Co.
Shanghai Wanfeng Auto
South East (Fujian) Motor Co.
Yuejin Motor Group
Zhengzhou Nissan Automobile Co.
Zhongshun (Polarsun Motor)