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(2009-04-28 23:00:54)







分类: 新闻
China's Influence On Display At Car Show


The Shanghai auto show that opened Monday is demonstrating how the balance of importance in the global car industry is tipping decisively toward China.


China is the only major auto market still growing despite the global economic slowdown, and in the past few months the number of sales in the country has outstripped sales in the U.S.


That's prompting auto makers including Daimler AG, General Motors Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and Porsche Automobil Holding AG to think of China not as an emerging market but, increasingly, the industry's central battleground.

这促使戴姆勒(Daimler AG)、通用汽车(General Motors Corp.)、丰田汽车(Toyota Motor Corp.)和保时捷(Porsche Automobil Holding AG)等汽车制造商不再将中国作为新兴市场看待,而越来越视其为汽车业的主战场。

'The center of gravity is moving eastward,' Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler, the parent of Mercedes-Benz, told a group of reporters at the auto show.

戴姆勒的董事长蔡澈(Dieter Zetsche)在车展上对记者说,重心正在东移。戴姆勒是梅赛德斯-奔驰(Mercedes-Benz)的母公司。

China's central government is pouring money into expanding the country's network of highways and roads as part of a major economic stimulus package. That spending could sustain auto sales growth for years to come. Chinese car makers, flush with cash, are keen to buy foreign brands and technologies. Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd., for instance, is looking to buy Ford Motor Co.'s Volvo.

作为主要经济刺激计划的一部分,中国中央政府正在投入资金扩大国内的公路网络。这些支出可以维持汽车销售继续保持几年的增长。现金充裕的中国汽车制造商热衷于购买外国的品牌和技术。比如,吉利汽车(Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd.)就正在考虑购买福特汽车 Ford Motor Co.旗下的沃尔沃(Volvo)。

The buzz and excitement surrounding this year's Shanghai auto show contrasts with the subdued tone of major car shows in North America and Europe. Nissan Motor Co., for example, skipped this year's Detroit show and plans to be absent from Frankfurt's but is making a splash in Shanghai.

今年上海车展的喧嚣与兴奋同欧美大型车展上的压抑气氛形成了鲜明对比。比如,日产汽车(Nissan Motor Co.)就没有参加今年的底特律车展,并计划缺席法兰克福车展,但却大张旗鼓地参加了上海车展。

Atsuyoshi Hyogo, head of Honda Motor Co.'s China operations, said auto makers at the Shanghai show are witnessing 'a major shift in the battleground within the global automobile market from the U.S. to China.'

本田汽车(Honda Motor Co.)中国业务部门负责人兵后笃芳(Atsuyoshi Hyogo)说,在上海车展上,汽车制造商看到“全球汽车市场的主战场正在从美国转到了中国。”

Nick Reilly, head of GM's Asia-Pacific operations, said China is one of the 'centerpieces' for the Detroit auto maker's future. While GM is racing to avoid bankruptcy in the U.S., its business in China is profitable and has remained largely unaffected by the global slowdown, Mr. Reilly said.

通用汽车亚太业务负责人雷利(Nick Reilly)说,中国是通用未来的业务中心之一。他说,虽然通用汽车在美国正尽力避免破产的命运,但其在华业务仍是盈利的,并且基本上没有受到全球经济放缓的影响。

In many ways, GM's eventual success in revitalizing itself depends on China, he said. For the company to remain a leader in the global industry, GM needs to be an 'industry leader' in China, he said.


Several car makers are unveiling new models in Shanghai. Daimler is showcasing a new version of its S-class S65 AMG, a luxury car with a 612-horsepower engine. The car can go from 0 to 100 kilometers (62 miles) an hour in 4.4 seconds. Sports-car manufacturer Porsche on Sunday debuted its four-door Panamera.

一些汽车制造商在上海车展上推出了新车型。戴姆勒展示了奔驰S级S65 AMG新车型,这款豪华轿车装有612马力的发动机。由静止加速到100公里/小时(62英里/小时)仅需4.4秒。跑车制造商保时捷在周日首次推出了四门的Panamera车型。

BMW AG, another German producer, is also having a world premier of a new model of its 7-Series sedan in Shanghai. The BMW 760 Li sedan has a 6-liter, 12-cylinder engine. Ian Robertson, executive board member of BMW, said China will likely be the vehicle's biggest market.

另一家德国生产商宝马汽车(BMW AG)也在上海车展上推出了世界顶级水平的新款7系列轿车。BMW 760 Li轿车装有6升12缸发动机。宝马执行董事罗伯逊(Ian Robertson)说,中国可能成为这款汽车最大的市场。

Toyota, meanwhile, has brought to Shanghai a 'concept' plug-in electric hybrid car, which the company said it might sell in China on a trial basis in the near future.


GM executives said the company plans to launch its futuristic hybrid, the Chevy Volt, in China by 2011, shortly after the car goes on sale in the U.S. in late 2010. They said the American auto maker expects China's overall auto market to continue to grow 7% to 8% on average every year over the next five to six years. That's slower than the double-digit growth rates of the Chinese market over the past decade, but makes China one of the rare bright spots looking ahead.


Among other signs pointing to China as a main engine of growth for the global industry, Ford has decided to move its Asian-Pacific headquarters to China from Thailand later this year.


To be sure, more cars are selling in China than the U.S. in part because of a severe auto sales downturn in America since last year. Chinese auto makers also remain largely uncompetitive in the world's advanced economies because of their limited, albeit improving, technological and manufacturing capabilities. The country also suffers from a reputation of being a copycat, with many of its cars closely resembling those from more established foreign rivals.


Honda's Mr. Hyogo noted that Chinese makers will have to stop cutting corners 'in areas such as the environment, safety and intellectual property' to create an industry that deserves to be called a leading global player.


'The Chinese government must recognize that China is becoming a major global market and lead the country to become an automobile superpower in the truest sense,' Mr. Hyogo said.


Meantime, car sales in China are showing surprising resilience. Chinese consumers are proving particularly responsive to government stimulus initiatives to boost spending, such as tax cuts and other subsidies on auto purchases. In March, vehicle sales climbed 5% to a record 1.11 million. In contrast, March car sales fell 30% in the U.S. and 32% in Japan.


GM's Mr. Reilly said the company is aiming to double its annual sales in China to more than two million over the next five years. The company sold 1,094,561 vehicles in China last year, including sales of micro minivans made with Wuling Automobile Co., one of GM's Chinese partners.


To meet that sales target, GM may soon need to build another assembly plant, company executives said. GM operates five plants in China with its joint-venture partner SAIC Motor Corp. GM also has two additional plants run by a separate, three-way venture it jointly operates with SAIC and Wuling.


China's auto industry may soon emerge as a significant export base for foreign car makers such GM and Nissan.


Mr. Reilly said he believes GM's plants in China, while they are committed to meeting demand within China, also 'will probably generate fairly significant exports,' possibly in the next two to three years, if the global auto markets recover. He noted that the quality of cars GM produces with its joint-venture partners in China is roughly on par with that of vehicles it makes in North America and Europe.


Asked why Daimler is skipping the Tokyo auto show later this year but is staging a big presence in Shanghai, Mr. Zetsche pointed to the fact that sales of Mercedes-Benz cars in China have recently surpassed those in Japan.


'Here, we are likely to leverage the opportunities, which are building,' the German executive said.


Norihiko Shirouzu / Gordon Fairclough



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