RAC Cars News


British Cars Going Down A Storm In China

By raccars Published

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China is the world's fastest growing economy, but when it comes to cars, the country has its sights set firmly on symbols of the UK's former glories. Big British name automobiles are going down a storm in China, where marques such as Mini, MG and Jaguar, function as status symbols to a growing wealthy consumer base.

China currently has upwards of a million millionaires, a number that is growing fast and these new wealthy want to spend their cash on British cars, particularly high-end examples. Jaguar Land Rover may now be under Indian ownership but plays strongly on its British roots and the company's ownership has seen the potentially huge exploitation value of the Eastern market. JLR has allied with Chinese firm, Chery, for future development projects and to build a manufacturing plant in China, hoping to knock out 130,000 vehicles per annum for the domestic market.

The plant already has a staff of 400 and hopes to have its first Jaguars and Land Rovers tripping off the production line next year, after an investment of £1.8 billion, a sum justified by more than 70,000 JLR sales in China last year alone. The firm's 116 Chinese dealerships are due to be joined by 47 new ones and JLR chose last month's Shanghai Motor Show for a massive publicity push of its new Jaguar F-Type and Range Rover Sport models, which are expected to increase sales to around the 100,000 mark this year. JLR is in no doubt that China is its commercial priority.

High-end luxury brands are also looking East, with 25% of Rolls-Royce's sales made in China. At the Shanghai event, the country's super-rich were knocking each other over in the rush to place deposits for the Rolls-Royce Wraith, a car priced at an eye-watering £500,000. The firm has admitted that it cannot afford to ignore such a lucrative sales opportunity.

Similarly, Aston Martin almost needed the riot police to safeguard its Rapide S centenary car at the event, which also saw a growing pre-order list despite costing almost £400,000. The firm is also finding the Chinese market responsible for nearly a quarter of its sales.

Bentley is another luxury brand finding Chinese sales booming, with sales growing by almost a quarter last year, to become the company's largest consumer base after the USA. So far, China is the source of 50% of sales of its new Flying Spur model, the car's most substantial single market by far. Bentley also intends to increase its dealership foothold in China in the coming years.

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