Chinese exports of cars and trucks reached 849,500 vehicles last year, up 50% from 2010, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Such exports are expected to grow at a similar annual pace over the next few years. Most of the export vehicles are priced well below $15,000, with some selling for as low as $6,000.
The transporting of autos around the world from many car manufacturers is done via Ro-Ro cargo (non-containerized, breakbulk cargo) along with construction mining equipment, agricultural equipment and large industrial equipment. With China growing as the second largest car export country, more investors are turning their eyes to the Ro-Ro shipping market. “Made in China” cars don’t face stiff consumer scrutiny in fast-growing emerging markets such as Africa, Asia and Latin America, therefore profitability on exports is better for selling cars in the domestic market. The Chinese prefer luxury of affordability, choosing luxury, non-Chinese manufactured cars over domestically manufactured automobiles.
Historically, the transport of vehicles between Europe and Asia was largely from East to West as European consumers and dealers ordered models from Japan and South Korea. However, there has been a significant upsurge in upwardly-mobile Chinese consumers’ demand for European-built cars and this has led to a fairly swift change in maritime trade patterns. The RoRo shipping industry has benefited from this demand; China is now such an important market for the European manufacturers.
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