China's auto market is the world's biggest and is set to grow
between 8 percent and 10 percent this year, fuelled by increasingly
affluent buyers, who use them for the daily commute, with some
opting for luxury brands as a status symbol.
"We are ramping up the second-hand sales business. We have 290
dealers who offer certified pre-owned Audis," Rupert Stadler, chief
executive of Volkswagen's <VOWG_p.DE> premium brand, Audi, said
during the Auto China show in Beijing.
"Cars that would normally have been sold on within families are
increasingly coming back to dealers, offering an opportunity for
additional revenue from the after-sales business," Stadler said.
The amount of business clinched by some Chinese dealers points to
substantial future growth, auto executives said.
"A top dealer in the United States sells 2,500 cars, in Germany
between 600 and 800 cars," Stadler said. "In China, we have some
dealers that sell between 1,500 and 3,000 cars."
Audi, which expects China to contribute 40 percent of its sales by
2020, plans to train 40,000 to 50,000 new sales staff a year by 2017
to meet growing demand for brand-new and used cars, he said.
Rival German carmaker BMW AG <BMWG.DE> plans to train 25,000 people
this year to work on dealerships in China, partly due to the rising
potential of used cars.
"Used cars are still a relatively small part of the business," said
BMW board member Ian Robertson. "In Europe, for every new car sold,
a dealer will also sell an old one. Here, the ratio of new and used
cars is that you only sell one used car for every 10 new cars."
[to top of second column]
Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler AG <DAIGn.DE> is also eyeing the
second-hand car business in China, with plans to open 100 new
dealerships this year and set up showrooms in 40 new cities.
"The secondhand car market is growing, and we are investing,
together with our dealers," said Hubertus Troska, Daimler board
member responsible for greater China.
In 2013, China's auto sales grew 13.9 percent to 21.98 million
vehicles, with the luxury passenger segment outperforming the
overall market, registering 20 percent growth.
Mercedes-Benz's sales in China, excluding Hong Kong, rose 11 percent
to 228,000 in 2013 and it has plans to sell more than 300,000 cars a
year by 2015.
(Editing by Lee Chyen Yee and Clarence Fernandez)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.