China and India have joined the ranks of the world's biggest car owners as millions of people swap their motorcycles for four wheels, according to a survey released Thursday.
Nine percent of Indian people and 6% of Chinese aged 18 and above now own a car, making them the 11th and 12th highest ranking countries worldwide for car sales. However, the level of car ownership in the two countries is way behind the US where 89% own a car, the UK where 80% own a car and Germany where 76% own a car, market research group the Nielsen Company found. The Asia/Pacific region's top country for car ownership is New Zealand where 82% own a car followed by South Korea at 74%, Australia at 70%, Malaysia at 67% and Taiwan at 66%. Thirty-one percent of Thai adults have a car while only 21% of Singaporeans and 16% of Hong Kongers own one. Ten percent of people in the Philippines and 8% of Indonesians are car owners.
The world's fastest growing car markets are China and India, the report found, and car manufacturers invested $1.85 billion on marketing in China in 2006, nearly half the region's total car advertising spending. Richard Basil-Jones, the Neilsen Company's managing director for Asia Pacific, said: „China's market for car parts and accessories is already huge and car manufacturers will be tapping that potential. „In addition, with penetration currently sitting at the world's lowest, the opportunity to entice the emerging affluent Chinese consumers into car ownership is immense. „Because of China's size, increasing penetration by just one or two percent would bring tremendous rewards for the automotive industry.” (earthtimes.org)