Six Things You Didn’t Know About The Chinese Automotive Market

春节快乐 Happy Chinese New Year! 2021 is the Year of the Ox, and to celebrate, we’re dedicating this blog to five facts you didn’t know about the Chinese automotive industry, including some incredible facts and figures! Want to know more? Then read on…


China is the world’s largest car producer and consumer.

In 2019, China produced nearly 26 million vehicles, which equates to nearly 28% of the total number of motor vehicles produced across the world! To put that into perspective, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the UK produced just 1.3 million cars (in addition to 78,270 commercial vehicles) in the same year!


The best-selling car in China is a Nissan… 

Last year, the Nissan Sylphy was the best selling car in China, shifting more than 542,000 units. Up until last year, the Volkswagen Lavida had a stranglehold on the Chinese market when it came to cars, but it was beaten into third place in the ‘best selling vehicle’ stakes by the Wuling Mini Truck and aforementioned Sylphy.


There’s a traditional ‘Big Four’ of domestic manufacturers.

SAIC Motor, Dongfeng, FAW and Chang’an are the four biggest Chinese manufacturers of automobiles, all of which are state-owned by the Chinese government.  The privately owned company Geely, who are also the parent company of Swedish brand Volvo, are hot on the heels of the traditional ‘Big Four’, with more than a 5% market share in 2019. 

SAIC, the first of the above brands listed, may be a familiar name to some of you as it also now owns the British brand marque MG, with all of MG’s cars produced for the UK market being built at a new factory in Ningde, a city in the east China coastal province of Fujian. 


There are different colours of number plates for different types of vehicles…

In China, you can tell a lot about a vehicle and its driver, just from its number plate!

License plates in China begin with a character denoting the province in which the vehicle is registered, followed by a letter which denotes the city or sub-region from where the car was registered. 

When it comes to different vehicle types, privately owned vehicles are issued with blue plates with white letters, farm vehicles have white plates with green writing, with buses, lorries and motorcycles all being issued with yellow plates. 

Vehicles belonging to the Police have white plates with black writing, and are suffixed with the character 警 in red, which means ‘police’.


The average cost of a used car is around £7,000

Between 2010 and 2019, the average cost of a second-hand car was just over 62,000 yuan, which equates to around £7,000. Meanwhile, in the UK, the average used car comes at a cost of more than £13,000 according to MotoringResearch.com.


Volkswagen is the most popular manufacturer…

According to sales data from 2019, German giant Volkswagen is the most popular manufacturer in China, with a market share of just over 14%! 

The Wolfsburg-based manufacturer builds certain models such as the ever-popular Lavida, Lamando and Sagitar specifically for the Chinese market. 1.59 million vehicles were sold by Volkswagen in the first six months of 2020, with 4.23 million sold in 2019.


So there we have it, as promised some quite astounding facts and figures about the Chinese car market. Happy Lunar New Year from all of us here at Number 1 Plates!

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