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China: 140 Million Cars by 2020

China Daily. The Chinese government is projecting that the country will have 140 million automobiles on its roads its roads by 2020, a seven-fold increase from current numbers.

Li Xinghua, deputy director of the Communication Ministry’s Comprehensive Planning Department, predicted that China’s auto population would eventually reach around 250 million, or about 150 cars per 1,000 people.

Government statistics show that China produced a record four million autos in 2003, when the number of private cars grew by 80 percent thanks to the country’s strong economic advance and growing middle class.

It is estimated that this year’s production will top five million units, making China the world’s third-largest auto manufacturer after the United States and Japan. That demand has been coupled with the unveiling of ambitious expansion plans by both international and domestic auto players.

Such growth by 2020 would make China’s auto fleet larger than that of the US today. Without major increases in engine efficiency combined with significant penetration of alternative fuel platforms, it is hard to see how that could be sustainable given the additional demand load a fleet of that size would place on oil supplies.

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