China vehicles to top 200 million in 2020
China is expected to have 200 million cars on the road by 2020, increasing pressure on energy security and the environment, government officials said yesterday.
"In the face of environment and energy problems, stepping up efforts to promote fuel-efficient and green energy autos has become a vital issue for the industry," Wang Fuchang, an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology told the International Forum on Chinese Automotive Industry Development in Tianjin.
Wang reiterated the nation's goals for the next decade - increasing market share of pure-electric and plug-in electric autos, building world-competitive auto makers and parts manufacturers in the energy-efficient auto sector as well as raising fuel-efficiency to world levels.
China is aiming to be the world's largest new energy vehicle market by 2020 with 5 million cars. It also aims to sell more than 15 million of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in the world each year by then.
"China will take measures to promote innovation and help Chinese firms to gain core techniques. Standards and guidelines will be set out while preferential tax policies and subsidies will be offered to speed up the development," Wang said.
China overtook the United States to become the world's top auto maker and market in 2009 when car ownership had risen 17.81 percent year on year to 76.19 million units.
However, the fast-developing auto industry also brings with it severe air pollution, Liu Zhiquan, an official at the Ministry of Environment Protection, told the forum.
One-fifth of Chinese cities are suffering severe air pollution while over one-third of 113 major cities failed to reach the National II air quality standard, Liu said.
Meanwhile, Chen Bin, director of industry coordination for the National Development and Reform Commission, warned that unchecked growth was leading to excess capacity and could harm the wider economy.
But industry representatives responded that car makers were only trying to meet demand, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.
The overall capacity of China's auto industry might seem excessive, but the market had huge potential for restructuring and growth, said Hu Xinmin, honorary chairman of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Fan Zhong, a senior manager at Dongfeng Automobile, said: "Our problem is not having enough capacity."
Most entrepreneurs at the forum had similar views, Xinhua said.