Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/18/2012 -- BMI will not follow the lead of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), which revised its forecast for passenger car sales in 2012 upward to growth of 11% from the previous projection of 9.5%. If met, this would represent car sales of 16mn units. While there is some upside risk to H212 sales from the potential for new incentives, there is also considerable downside risk if more cities adopt the same restrictions on registrations as the likes of Beijing, Shanghai and, most recently, Guangzhou.
As the re-introduction of government-led car buying incentives, such as a new scrappage scheme, has not yet materialised since being mentioned earlier in the year, BMI is standing by our forecast for sales of 15.6mn passenger cars, which would be 8% higher than 2011. Dealers may be forced to offer sweeteners for consumers if inventories become an issue, which would still create some bargains. We believe the likelihood of local governments taking action in the form of restricted registrations is more likely than state purchase incentives in H212, however.
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A threat to a more specific vehicle segment comes in the form of the latest guidelines from Beijing on promoting the development of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in models that have downgraded hybrid cars to 'energy-saving vehicles', which means companies producing hybrids will not be entitled to the same level of government support. BMI believes that by leap-frogging hybrids to encourage domestic firms to get a head-start in EVs, an important stage in technology development could be missed out, while EV take-up could also fall short of the government's projections.
This means the government's target of having 500,000 EVs and hybrids on the road by 2015 looks very unlikely to be achieved, while the longer term goal of 5mn units by 2020 is near impossible. Moves are being made to increase the number of charging stations available, with the Ministry of Science and Technology claiming 400,000 new charging points will be added by 2015, and there are, as mentioned, purchase incentives available, but the current data suggests the targets will have to be reviewed with an eye on the existing technology to have any hope of being met.
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