China will overtake Japan to become Asia Pacific's largest carmaker by 2010, producing 11 million vehicles, says a global automotive research firm.
Carmakers are ditching Japan to slug it out in China
Japan made 10.8 million cars in 2006, but this is expected to gradually fall to 10 million units by 2010, said JD Power-Automotive Resources Asia.
Meanwhile, Chinese production will grow, despite an expected slowdown to 14.3% this year from 28.4% in 2006.
The survey said Japanese producers were shifting production to China.
By 2010, the combined output of China and Japan will account for 76% of the expected 31.4 million light vehicles manufactured in the Asia Pacific, according to the company's quarterly forecast report.
The term light vehicle refers to any motor vehicle under six tonnes.
India, South Korea and Thailand are the only other countries in the region that manufacture more than one million vehicles a year, the firm added.
This comes as listed Chinese carmaker Shanghai Automotive projected earnings up 300% over the past three months ahead of its first quarter results due on 28 April.