China to Become World’s Biggest Market for Driverless Cars on Positive Consumer Attitudes, McKinsey Says

Liu Zhanchao

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(Yicai Global) April 17 — China is expected to become the world’s biggest market for autonomous driving, with related revenue from new car sales and transportation services set to exceed USD500 billion by 2030, says major consulting firm McKinsey & Co. in a new report.

“Autonomous driving will enjoy promising prospects if it gets off to a strong start in China”, said McKinsey Partner Wu Ting, adding that self-driving vehicles will account for 13 percent of total passenger kilometers traveled, PKMT, in the country by 2030 and 66 percent by 2040.

He predicts that China will have about 8 million autonomous cars by 2030 and over 13 million by 2040, while sales of self-driving vehicles will increase substantially from USD230 billion in 2030 to USD360 billion in 2040.

The value of orders for autonomous driving-based transportation services will reach USD260 billion by 2030 and USD940 billion by 2040.

McKinsey predicts that the period 2025 to 2027 will become an inflection point for automated driving as the per-kilometer cost of self-driving will become roughly the same as that of traditional human-driving vehicles, based on estimates of the cost curve of underlying technology related to autonomous driving. Market demand for self-driving will rise steadily after this point.

A recent McKinsey survey shows that 49 percent of Chinese consumers consider fully-autonomous cars as a “very important” matter while another 49 percent deem it “non-essential”. This is in sharp contrast to survey results in Germany and the US, where only 16 percent of consumers see driverless cars as “very important” and 53 percent view the technology as “non-essential”.

Chinese consumers are willing to pay a premium of up to USD4,600 for self-driving vehicles, compared with USD3,900 among US buyers and USD2,900 among Germany purchasers.

“All indicators show that autonomous driving has a unique advantage in China. Compared with consumers in other countries, Chinese consumers are considering buying self-driving vehicles, especially premium ones. In fact, compared with consumers in other countries, Chinese buyers put more emphasis on the properties of self-driving vehicles,” Wu said.

Editor: William Clegg

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