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Chinese auto exports feel pressure amid RMB appreciation: industry insider

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SHIJIAZHUANG, May 4 (Xinhua) -- The appreciation of the yuan against the U.S. dollar has further cast a shadow over Chinese automobile exports amid other problems, an industry insider said Friday.

The appreciation of China's currency and problems such as fierce competition, low profit margins and the lack of a sound after-sales network all impeded the export of Chinese-brand automobiles, but the export market is growing faster than the domestic one, said Wang Fengying, president of Hebei province-based Great Wall Motors.

China's yuan, or Renminbi, advanced to a record high against the U.S. dollar for a third consecutive trading day on Wednesday. The central parity rate of the yuan strengthened 117 basis points to 6.267 per U.S. dollar on Wednesday, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trading System.

China exported a total of 844,000 automobiles in 2011, up 49 percent year on year. The export growth is much higher than the relatively low growth of 2.5 percent for the country's auto industry.

"However, there is a long way to go before Chinese-brand vehicles become big international names like Toyota and Volkswagen," Wang said.

Great Wall Motors has already entered overseas markets, including those in Russia, South Africa, Australia and Chile. In 2011, the company exported a total of 83,000 vehicles, up 65 percent year on year.

The company plans to export 100,000 more vehicles this year, and aims to export 300,000 by the year 2015.

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