China has come on quickly in the automotive world. Long known as a nation of bike riders, it now represents the third largest manufacturer and second largest market for cars in the world. As People's Daily Online points out, in just five years since joining the WTO, sales of Chinese made vehicles have almost doubled, and sales of sedans have more than quadrupled.

For 2006 China expects to produce and sell more than 7 million cars. Nissan-Renault, the world's 4th largest car group by comparison, is struggling with getting capacity above 6 million. The study perhaps optimistically estimated that by 2009, production and sales will reach 10 million units. At that pace China could be the world's largest car market by 2015.

China also happens to represent the fastest growing segment of Autoblog categories. What with Chery and Nanjing, Geely and FAW, SAIC and Roewe, and all the others, we can't get enough of this explosion of products and news. While many of our stories have necessarily focused on the derivative styling and problematic trademark issues, we've also tried to point out how important this market really is. Their thirst for premium vehicles is but one example. Like the Koreans, we know it's only a matter of time before we start referring to these companies in the same breath as the Japanese makers.

[Source: People's Daily Online]