The Chinese passenger car market has become the biggest in the world, at almost 18 million units in 2013, and while German brands have focused on China as one of their core markets, the French carmakers Renault and PSA Peugeot-Citroën haven’t been successful in their attempt to gain a foothold in this market and are suffering from it now. Volkswagen has been China’s bestselling brand for years, selling more cars in China alone than in all of Europe. VW brand sales increased 17% in 2013 to almost 2,4 million cars. Even Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz sold more than 1 million cars combined in China last year, which is their biggest single market. This compares to “just” 550.000 PSA cars, while Renault imported less than 40.000 cars in 2013.
These 550.000 Peugeot and Citroën cars sold in China barely made up the 540.000 lost sales for the two brands in Europe since 2009. And with the European car market not very likely to climb back to pre-crisis numbers as quickly as the North-American market, the French are desperate to reduce their reliance on their struggling home market. But for now, their share of the enormous Chinese market is below 3,5%. [Read more…]