CHENGDU, China, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Executives from the world’s biggest auto companies gathered in the Chinese city of Chengdu on Thursday and Friday for the Global Automotive Forum.
Here is what they were saying about the outlook for the world’s largest auto market and the development of its new energy vehicles:
BJORN HAUBER, EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT, SALES & MARKETING, MERCEDES-BENZ, DAIMLER AG (DAIGn.DE):
”As many speakers said here, this (China) is clearly the future. All the power is shifting towards the Chinese market and now it is the third-largest market for Mercedes-Benz in the world.
”We are very confident going forward for upcoming years. We believe the Chinese economy will remain strong -- that is the foundation you need in order to sell cars.
”But we should not be over optimistic. Right now the market is very hot but if you go back to the month of July everybody was already talking about the market diminishing.
“I also assume that the premium segment will grow faster than the mass segment.”
WANG JIAN-JUN, DEPUTY GENERAL MANAGER, BYD CO LTD (1211.HK)
”Exports of electric cars are still at an experimental phase; we are selling in one U.S. city and two European cities. What we are doing now is to prepare for mass exports (next year). The work includes training servicing staff, getting support from technology and (preparing) sales channels.
“Demand for electric vehicles (in China) will grow, especially for electric buses. It is public transport and will be more easily accepted and promoted by the government and the public.”
ROLAND EHNISS, EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT, ROBERT BOSCH GMBH [ROBG.UL]
“My personal view is that for mass production of pure electric vehicles, it is more than five years (away). In the next three to five years we will really see plug-in hybrids in good volume but for pure electric, because you need infrastructure for that, I would say five years is realistic.”
”We are optimistic about next year. An economist said earlier that he expected China’s GDP to grow about 9 percent -- judging from history, auto market growth has always been more than double GDP growth. This year is extraordinarily strong. The first half rose 40-50 percent and that’s much more than double. I think China’s sales will be about 17 million units this year.
“At Beijing Auto, we are facing capacity constraints (rather than oversupply).” (Reporting by Alison Leung and Fang Yan; Editing by Chris Lewis and Muralikumar Anantharaman)