Exports totalled 172,800 units, up 120 percent from 2004, while imports rose only 8 percent to 161,900 units. Most of the exports are cheap, low-end models destined for developing markets, often from smaller manufacturers who are at a disadvantage in the competitive domestic Chinese market.
Two of the biggest exporters will be familiar to Autoblog readers - Geely Automobile Holdings Co. and Chery Automobile. Both have plans in the works to export to the U.S. market. Geely, an exhibitor at this year's Detroit Auto Show, plans to export 1.33 million cars a year by 2015. In 2005, its exports totalled 7,000 units.
Massive investment by foreign automakers in the Chinese market will triple capacity to more than 7 million cars by 2008. It may not be long before the Chinese operations of GM, Ford and VW are exporting to the U.S. and Europe.