Chinese Vehicle Stock
China’s vehicle stock has grown at an extraordinary pace in the past several decades, along
with the nation’s GDP. In 1990, there were approximately 5.5 million registered motor vehicles
in China. As of the end of 2017, there were 310 million. That means there is now roughly one
registered motor vehicle for every 4.5 people in China. (In the United States, there is almost
one registered motor vehicle for every person.)2
In 2017, 29 million new motor vehicles were sold in China, making it the world’s largest
vehicle market by far. (The United States was second, with roughly 17 million vehicles sold.)
Of these, roughly 25 million were passenger cars (including 10 million SUVs) and 4 million
were commercial vehicles. New motor vehicles sales increased by 3.2% from 2016. SUV sales
increased by 13%.3
China has more than 100 vehicle manufacturers. Many of these vehicle manufacturers are
owned or heavily supported by provincial and local governments. The top 10 Chinese vehicle
manufacturers and their sales are shown below:
Traffic congestion is a major problem in many Chinese cities. One recent study found that the
average Chinese driver spends nine days a year stuck in traffic. Beijing, Tianjin and Hangzhou
were rated the worst cities for traffic congestion.5
2. National Bureau of Statistics of China, “National Data,” http://data.stats.gov.cn/search.htms=%E6%B1%BD%E8%BD%A6%E4%BF%9D%E6%9C%89%E9%87%8F%201990 (accessed June 27, 2018) (5.5 million vehicles in 1990); Yangtse Evening Post, “2017年底：我国机动车保有量3.1亿辆 驾驶人3.85亿人” [At the end of 2017: China’s motor vehicle ownership is 310 million vehicles, and 385 million drivers] (January 16, 2018), http://www.yangtse.com/app/zhengzai/2018-01-16/507118.html; US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, “Number of U.S. Aircraft, Vehicles, Vessels, and Other Conveyances,” https://www.bts.gov/content/number-us-aircraftvehicles-vessels-and-other-conveyances (accessed July 4, 2018) (269 million registered highway vehicles in the United States in 2016).
3. National Bureau of Statistics, “Statistical Bulletin 2017” (February 28, 2018) at table 3, http://www.stats.gov.
cn/english/pressrelease/201802/t20180228_1585666.html and http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjsj/zxfb/201802/
t20180228_1585631.html; “China – Flash report, Sales volume, 2017,” Marklines Automotive Industry Portal
(January 4, 2018), https://www.marklines.com/en/statistics/flash_sales/salesfig_china_2017; Neal Boudette, “Car
Sales End a 7-Year Upswing, With More Challenges Ahead,” New York Times (January 3, 2018), https://www.
4. Chinese Automobile Association, http://www.caam.org.cn.
5. Chris Bruce, “The average Chinese motorist loses 9 days a year stuck in traffic” (July 5, 2017), http://www.