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China may beat U.S. in Jan. auto sales

Scott Tong Feb 6, 2009
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China may beat U.S. in Jan. auto sales

Scott Tong Feb 6, 2009
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Steve Chiotakis: Toyota hasn’t had a yearly net loss since 1950. But the Japanese automaker this morning says it could very well be upwards of $4 billion in the hole this year. That’s triple the loss it originally expected.

And the way carmakers are losing money, you’d think no one was buying. Except the Chinese — they’re purchasing enough cars that for the first time, sales may exceed those in this U.S. when those numbers come out next week. Here’s Marketplace’s Scott Tong.


Scott Tong: January auto sales in China are expected to come in around 800,000 vehicles. That’s 20 percent higher than U.S. sales. Now this is just one month, and the image here is not exactly a Chinese roadster zooming past an American one. It’s more of a wheelchair race.

Michael Dunne is with J.D. Power and Associates:

Michael Dunne: You’ve got the Chinese puttering along, and the U.S., against all expectations, going backward down the highway.

Eventually, Dunne expects U.S. sales to nose back ahead. But in the long term, he says the Chinese market is priority one for every automaker on the planet.

Dunne: It is where the growth is. And if you want to be around 10 years from now, you better be competitive in China starting today.

The Detroit Three face the same challenge in China as they do back home: making little cars that sell.

In Shanghai, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

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