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We've been hearing Chinese officials say for quite some time now that there are far too many automakers in the country for a healthy market in the long-term, but we didn't realize until today just how out-of-hand it may be. According to state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua, China has seen an unprecedented 89 new automobile launches so far this year.
That's surely a big number, but it doesn't really hit home until you consider that 89 vehicles in the first half of 2009 averages out to a new or heavily revised vehicle appearing in China once every two days. Of those new designs, 73 were cars, nine were SUVs, six were MPVs and – in contrast to typical American vehicle launches over the same period – only one was a crossover.
As you're surely aware, 2009 is only half over, and there are reportedly some 50 new vehicles still slated for introduction before the end of the year, equaling about 140 new models introduced in 2009. The good news, at least as far the bottom line goes, is that the new releases have translated into sales. The 4.96 million vehicles sold between January and May of this year represent a 14.29-percent increase over the same period in 2008. Still, considering the glut of new models hitting the market, one has to figure that a goodly number of those vehicles will go begging.