A financial research company has said that China could become one of the world’s top five car producers by 2004.

A financial research company has said that China could become one of the world’s top five car producers by 2004.

reports that ING Financial Markets said vehicles sales in China were expected to increase by about 47 per cent over the next two years.

That would put China behind the United States, Japan, Germany, France and ahead of South Korea.

A number of manufacturers have increased operations in China, which is recognised as the world’s fastest growing car market.

ING Financial Markets said vehicle sales of 3,2 million were recorded in China in 2002. This was an increase of about 55 per cent over 2001. The figure was expected to increase to 4,7 million by 2004.

"Growth is being driven by the fast-growing sedan segment, which accounts for 35 to 40 per cent of total industry sales volume in China," an ING analyst said.

Executives at FAW-Volkswagen, a venture between Volkswagen and Chinese manufacturer First Auto Works (FAW), said that annual production at its plant in China, which makes the Audi, Bora and Jetta models, would be raised to 300 000 by the end of 2003.

Volkswagen has another joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation Group to manufacture the Santana and Polo series in China

Volkswagen has said the Jetta and Santana models helped it capture roughly 40 per cent share of China's potentially huge passenger car market.

Original article from Car