[FRANKFURT] German automotive association VDA expects Chinese passenger car market growth to drop to as low as 6 per cent this year from 12.7 per cent in 2014, it said on Monday.
The biggest economic slowdown in a quarter of a century is crimping sales growth in China, the world's largest car market, but foreign automakers led by Volkswagen and General Motors are still investing in new plants.
German carmakers increased their share of the Chinese market to 23 per cent in the first two months of the year from 21.2 per cent in 2014, VDA President Matthias Wissmann said in the text of a speech to the Shanghai auto show.
"Future growth rates may well tend to stay more in single figures, but the Chinese market will doubtless remain the world's most significant one," he said.
Mr Wissmann said demand for cars in China was still far from being met, especially in medium-sized cities and in the west of the country, with just 52 cars owned per 1,000 inhabitants compared with 540 cars per 1,000 in Germany.
"Keen demand for individual mobility will continue to be driven by the emerging middle class that is becoming more and more the target group for the vehicle manufacturers," he said.