Any thought the West may have had that Chinese car market growth might be easing to something like European levels is completely the reverse of the truth, according to Citroen's expert Matthieu Vennin, who has spent nearly a decade in Shanghai studying the subject.
According to Vennin, who spoke at the Shanghai motor show, in the next 10 years Chinese sales will expand to an extraordinary 30 million a year, although the average rate will slow around 7.5 per cent. Year, and by 2023 will treble even US sales of around 10 million. Apparent curbs on Chinese car consumerism will do little to hold growth back, says Vennin, because the new Chinese administration is more interested in encouraging growth than the outgoing group - as a 10-year government they have a big interest in keeping the population happy - and demand is growing fast from western Chinese regions
Citroen and DS sales have expanded by 18 per cent in the first quarter, with unit sales of 70,000 (up 18 per cent) overtaking French market sales, which have taken a similar-sized move in the opposite direction for the first time. In future, this will be the new order.
Even in 10 years time, Chinese car ownership will be much lower - at 190 cars per 1000 people - than the current European level around 500 (US figure 800). So even in a decade's time, further big growth will be possible.
In 2013 combined Peugeot, Citroen and and DS sales should get close to 600,000 in China this year, indicating that the urgent PSA objective of using non-European markets to rebuild its business is well on the way to being realised.