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外资车企在华大举扩张,面临产能过剩风险

更新时间:2016-3-29 18:27:50 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Automakers Expanding in China May Soon Face Weakening Demand
外资车企在华大举扩张,面临产能过剩风险

SHANGHAI — The new $1.3 billion Cadillac factory on the outskirts of Shanghai is a shrine to modern manufacturing, the kind of facility that automakers all over the world dream of building but can seldom afford.

上海——这座位于上海郊区的凯迪拉克新工厂造价达13亿美元,是一座现代制造的神殿,全球各地的汽车制造商都梦想修建这样的工厂,但却没有几家负担得起它的成本。

Hundreds of robots bend, arch and twist to assemble the body of Cadillac’s new flagship CT6. Lasers seal the car’s lightweight aluminum exterior using techniques that the carmaker, General Motors, has only just introduced in the United States. Yardlong, bright yellow robots like mechanical Alaskan huskies tow five-foot-tall carts of auto parts to the assembly line.

数以百计的机器人弯曲、弓起,扭动着,组装凯迪拉克新旗舰车型CT6的车身。激光器对车辆的轻质铝外壳进行密封,这是其制造商通用汽车公司(General Motors)刚刚在美国推出的新技术。一码长的明黄色机器人好像一只只机械阿拉斯加哈士奇,把五英尺高、装着零件的拖车拉到装配线上。

“It’s more along the lines of aircraft technology than traditional, spot-welded steel bodies,” said Paul Buetow, G.M.’s head of manufacturing in China, as he strode along the assembly line.

“这更像是飞行器技术的生产线,而不是传统的点焊钢铁车身,”通用汽车中国制造部门主管保罗·布托(Paul Buetow)一边沿着流水线走动一边说。

The factory is part of an aggressive expansion by automakers in China, the world’s largest market for new cars and the industry’s brightest hope for the last 15 years. But the country’s economy is now cooling, which could leave carmakers with too many factories and not enough buyers.

通用汽车在中国积极进行扩张,这个工厂是其部分成果。中国是全球最大的新车市场,也是未来15年里这个行业最大的希望。但中国经济正在降温,拥有太多工厂的汽车制造商可能不会有足够多的购车者。

G.M. will open a second, $1 billion factory in Wuhan next year. G.M.’s main rival in the Chinese market, Volkswagen, plans to open large assembly plants next year alongside its existing factories in the cities of Foshan, Ningbo and Yizheng and build one in Qingdao by 2018. Hyundai plans to complete a factory south of Beijing by October and another in Chongqing next year, while Chinese automakers like Great Wall and Changan are aggressively adding capacity.

通用汽车的第二家十亿美元级工厂明年将在武汉开工。通用汽车在中国市场的主要竞争对手大众汽车(Volkswagen)计划明年在佛山、宁波、仪征的老厂旁边启动大型装配厂,2018年之前在青岛修建一家新工厂。现代汽车(Hyundai)计划今年10月之前在北京南部建成一家新的工厂,明年在重庆建成另外一家。而长城、长安等中国本土汽车制造商也正在积极扩大产能。

The research firm Sanford Bernstein estimates that auto manufacturing capacity in China will rise 22 percent over the next two years, bringing it to 28.8 million cars, minivans and sport utility vehicles annually. That is almost equal to the American and European markets combined, and greater than even the most optimistic forecasts: that sales in China will reach about 25 million next year.

据调研公司桑福德·伯恩斯坦(Sanford Bernstein)估计,在未来两年内,中国汽车产能将增长22%,每年可生产2880万辆轿车、小型货车和运动型多功能车。这几乎相当于美国和欧洲市场的总和,超过即便是最乐观的预测:中国明年的汽车销量将达到2500万辆左右。

Automakers are expanding at a time when China’s economic growth has slowed to its lowest level in more than a quarter-century. China is closing coal mines across the country and plans to shutter steel mills. Exports are falling. Many Chinese cities are dotted with empty apartment buildings. Worried about pollution and traffic jams, China’s wealthiest metropolises have begun limiting the number of new cars that may be registered.

汽车制造商扩大产能之际,正逢中国经济增长放缓至20多年来的最低点。中国各地都在关闭煤矿,还计划关停钢厂。出口正在下滑。很多中国城市都点缀着空荡荡的公寓楼。由于担心污染和交通拥堵,中国最富裕的超级大城市已经开始限制可以上牌照的新车数量。

On the surface, auto sales in China seem strong. More Chinese families can afford cars and are flocking to showrooms. Sales of cars, minivans and sport utility vehicles jumped 8 percent last year from 2014.

从表面上看,中国的汽车销售势头似乎很强劲。越来越多的中国家庭看起来能买得起车了,而且正在涌向展销厅。从2014年到去年,轿车、小型货车和运动型多功能车的销量飙升了8%。

The buyers are not just China’s college-educated, white-collar elite, but also the beneficiaries of the country’s roughly eightfold growth in blue-collar wages in the last dozen years. Zhou Genkou, a burly truck driver, recently waited in a Volkswagen dealership to pay $12,300 for a new white Santana sedan. He explained that he could not tolerate life without a car.

购车者不仅有大学学历者、白领精英,而且还包括过去十几年里工资增长了大约七倍的蓝领。周根冦(音)是一个魁梧的卡车司机,近日他在大众汽车经销店里等候为一辆白色桑塔纳新车支付1.23万美元(约合人民币8万元)。他解释说,自己过不了没有车的生活。

“It’s so that we don’t have to walk,” he said.

“有了车就不用再走路了,”他说。

But there are signs that China’s yearslong auto boom is easing.

但有迹象表明,中国数年来的汽车热潮正在降温。

After car sales fell three months in a row, the Chinese government decided last September to halve the sales tax on cars with engines of 1.6 liters or less, to 5 percent through the end of 2016. The main beneficiaries have been domestic Chinese automakers, mostly affiliated with municipal or provincial governments, that churn out cheap subcompacts with small engines.

去年9月,汽车销量连续下降三个月之后,中国政府决定将1.6升及以下排量轿车的销售税减半至5%,直到2016年年底。这个举措的主要受益者是中国本土汽车公司,它们大多隶属于市级或省级政府,生产小排量的廉价微型车。

A similar tax reduction produced strong sales in 2009 and 2010. But it mainly encouraged consumers to buy sooner. When the tax cut expired, sales essentially leveled off for the next two years.

2009年和2010年时,类似的减税措施导致了强劲的销售势头。但那主要是鼓励消费者将购车计划提前。在减税期结束后的两年里,汽车销售基本趋于平稳。

With the current tax reduction scheduled to end, “2017 will be a very difficult year for the auto industry, probably no growth,” said Yale Zhang, the managing director of Automotive Foresight, a Shanghai consulting firm.

而在目前的减税期结束之后,“2017年将会是汽车行业非常困难的一年,可能不会有任何增长,”上海咨询公司汽车市场预测(Automotive Foresight)总监张豫(Yale Zhang)说。

Multinationals are focusing more on higher-profit segments that are growing without help from such incentives. But they are also finishing up a factory-building spree that started three years ago, when the economy was healthier.

跨国公司更加集中在高利润细分市场上,销售增长不受这种激励措施的影响。但它们也在三年前掀起了建厂热潮,当时中国的经济形势还比较健康。

“We see China moving to a pace of what I would call moderate growth,” said Matthew Tsien, the G.M. executive vice president who oversees the company’s China business.

“我们认为,中国正在转向一种我称为‘适度增长’的步伐,”通用汽车中国区总裁钱惠康(Matthew Tsien)说。

Volkswagen forecasts that China’s auto market will grow slightly faster than the overall economy this year and slightly slower than the overall economy for the rest of the decade. G.M. is forecasting that the market will grow a little less than 5 percent a year through the end of the decade, the equivalent of adding the entire auto market of Japan, or five Australias.

大众汽车公司预测,中国汽车市场今年的增长将超过整体经济,而在这个十年剩下的时间里,它的增长将略慢于整体经济。通用汽车公司预测,该市场在2020年以前将以每年略低于5%的速度增长,增量相当于整个日本汽车市场,或者五个澳大利亚汽车市场。

Both automakers are planning to meet much of that growth with factories they have already commissioned or will soon finish. But if the economy weakens significantly, the industry could get stuck with a large amount of excess capacity.

这两家汽车制造商都计划通过已经委托建造的或即将完工的工厂满足大部分增长需求。但如果经济大幅下滑,汽车行业将陷入产能过剩的困境。

“Are manufacturers going to keep the rose-colored glasses or get real? Most of the multinationals are going to get real and slow down the new capacity,” said Bill Russo, former chief executive of Chrysler China and now a consultant. “I’m not sure about the local manufacturers. They have a ‘Field of Dreams’ and ‘build it and they will come’ mentality.”

“制造商会保持乐观还是会现实一些?大部分跨国公司会现实一些,放缓新增产能,”克莱斯勒中国公司(Chrysler China)前首席执行官比尔·鲁索(Bill Russo)说。“我不确定当地制造商的情况。他们有种电影《梦幻成真》[Field of Dreams]里的心态,‘只要去建造,他们就会来。’”鲁索现在担任顾问。

Chinese auto industry leaders shrug off such concerns. “They see the small-car market as having a lot of potential,” said Cui Dongshu, the secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association.

中国汽车行业的领袖对这些担忧不予理会。全国乘用车市场信息联席会秘书长崔东树说,“他们看到小型车市场具有很大潜力。”

The Chinese economy needs continued strength in the auto market. The government wants to shift to a new, more sustainable model for growth based on consumer spending.

中国经济需要汽车市场继续走强。政府希望转向以消费支出为基础的、更具可持续性的新增长模式。

Since 2009, China has depended heavily on a loan-fed surge in construction of ever more highways, rail lines, factories and other investments. But that has produced a mountain of debt, particularly at state-owned enterprises.

自2009年以来,中国严重依赖贷款促进建筑项目的增加,建造更多公路、铁路线、工厂及加大其他投资。但这给相关公司带来了巨额债务,特别是国企。

Strong auto sales helped China attain a little-noticed milestone in recent months. Overall retail sales of consumer goods in China surpassed such sales in the United States, according to official data.

近几个月来强劲的汽车销售帮助中国达到了一个不太引人注意的里程碑。官方数据显示,中国的消费品零售总额超过了美国。

If sales do slow sharply, the question is whether multinationals and domestic automakers will try to start exporting more from their Chinese factories. The facilities are among the most advanced in the world, not least because they are also the newest.

如果销售大幅放缓,问题在于国际及国内汽车制造商是否会尝试开始出口更多中国工厂生产的汽车。这些工厂是世界上最先进的——一个重要的原因是它们都是最新建造的。

G.M. and other automakers could in theory try to export more cars to the United States, which is also a relatively healthy market. One potential obstacle, however, is that China’s surplus capacity is mainly in subcompact cars, for which Americans have little appetite.

通用和其他汽车制造商理论上可以尝试向美国出口更多汽车,美国也是一个相对健康的市场。但中国的汽车生产力过剩主要出现在小型汽车领域,美国人对这种汽车不太感兴趣,这可能是一个阻碍。

G.M. is already preparing to start shipping a new car-based sport utility vehicle, the Buick Envision, from China to the United States, from a factory in northeastern China. The arrival of the Envision, which is being built only in China, Buick’s biggest market by far, will be the mass market debut of Chinese-built cars in Big Three showrooms in the United States.

通用已经准备开始从中国东北的一家工厂向美国运送以轿车为基础的多功能运动型车别克昂科威(Buick Envision)。这款汽车只在中国生产,中国是别克目前最大的市场。这将是中国生产的汽车首次在美国“三巨头”的展销厅面向大众市场销售。

The preferences of Chinese consumers tend to be different from those of American buyers. Chinese customers, for example, are highly prone to complain if fabrics and other materials in a car’s interior do not smell quite right, according to surveys by J. D. Power & Associates. Many in the auto industry have said they will be watching how American buyers respond to Chinese-built Envisions.

中国消费者的偏好往往与美国顾客不同。例如,市场咨询公司J. D. Power & Associates的调查显示,中国顾客经常抱怨汽车内部的织物及其他材料有异味。很多汽车行业的人士表示,他们将会关注美国顾客对中国制造的昂科威汽车的反应。

“So will we,” said Mr. Buetow of G.M.

通用的布托表示,“我们也会关注。”

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