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Super Japan! China becomes the world's largest automobile exporter

2024-06-17 Update From: AutoBeta NAV: AutoBeta > News >


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According to the latest data released by the General Administration of Customs, China's car exports reached 5.221 million in 2023, an increase of 57.4 percent over the same period last year, a record. Previously, China's car exports in 2022 and 2021 were 3.111 million (up 54.4 per cent year on year) and 2.015 million (101.1 per cent year on year) respectively.

The volume of China's automobile exports in 2023 is equivalent to that of 2021 and 2022 combined, which has aroused strong concern at home and abroad. China may overtake Japan to become the world's largest car exporter, while Japan's auto export figures for 2023 will be released at the end of January, the Associated Press reported. Japan's Kyodo news agency said it would be the first time that Japan had lost its top spot since 2016.

Japanese cars have won a lot of market share in the world because of their high performance-to-price ratio and fuel-saving performance. In 1980, Japan became the largest automobile exporter in the world. For more than 40 years since then, Japan has been firmly at the top of the world in terms of automobile exports. After 2016, against the backdrop of a gradual slowdown in global car consumption, the growth of Japanese car exports is minimal. In 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic swept the world, and the decline in consumer desire to buy cars was superimposed by poor export transportation. The number of Japanese car exports dropped sharply. In 2020, Japanese car exports dropped by 22.36% compared with the same period last year. In 2021, the epidemic around the world gradually improved and encountered a chip supply crisis. Japanese car exports increased slightly to 3.8189 million vehicles. In 2022, with the rapid popularity of electric vehicles in China and the improvement of the brand appeal of local enterprises, it began to erode the market of German and Japanese brands, although Japan still ranks first in the world in terms of 3.28 million car exports. but there is not much difference compared with China's 3.111 million.

Although the conclusion that China may become the world's largest car exporter is not yet conclusive, it is basically certain. According to the data released by the Japan Automobile Industry Association (JAMA), Japan exported 3.99 million cars in the first 11 months of 2023, and is expected to export about 4.35 million vehicles in 2023, a difference of nearly one million from the 5.221 million Chinese cars exported in 2023. In the previous year, China's car exports surpassed Germany in 2022, ranking second in the world after Japan.

North America is the largest exporter of Japanese cars, and the leading level of global economic development makes consumers in this market more capable and willing to spend on cars. On this basis, because North America is sparsely populated and the labor cost of car repair is high, consumers have higher requirements for fuel consumption and quality stability of automobiles. With durability, high performance-to-price ratio and fuel-saving performance, Japanese cars at the same price have become the main objects of American consumer cars, which stand out among German and American cars. The second is the European market, whose overall performance is not as good as that of North America, because the overall oil price in the European market is more expensive, and more fuel-efficient diesel cars are more popular, while German cars are so outstanding in diesel technology that Japanese cars cannot compete with them. At the same time, Germany, Britain and France are the basic industries of European automobile development, and the European market rejects Japanese and other brands obviously, which makes it relatively difficult for Japanese cars to enter the market.

In 2022, the top three countries in terms of cumulative vehicle imports in China are Germany, Japan and the United States. After 2022, with the rapid popularization of electric vehicles in China and the improvement of the brand appeal of local enterprises, they began to erode the market of German and Japanese brands. Japanese cars can no longer survive only on the basis of performance-to-price ratio and low fuel consumption. coupled with the lack of investment in new energy vehicles by Japanese car companies, sales of Japanese cars in the Chinese market have declined sharply. Sales of Toyota, Honda and Nissan all declined in China in 2023, with Nissan falling 24% in China.

It is precisely because of the rapid popularity of electric vehicles in China, more and more domestic brands go global, car exports soar, while Russia is China's largest car export destination. According to Autostat, a Russian auto market analyst, six Chinese brands entered the top 10 in Russia in 2023. The first place was Russian brand Lada, with annual sales of 324000 vehicles. Chinese brands occupied the position from second to seventh, while Chery ranked first among Chinese brands (118950 vehicles, with a market share of 11.2%). In third place was Harvard (111720, with a market share of 10.6 per cent). In addition, Geely (93553), Chang'an (47765), Xingtu (42152) and Oumengda (41983 cars) entered the top 10.

Chinese cars are not only sufficient to supply the domestic market, but also can make up for overseas markets. External factors such as geopolitical changes and the setback of the international supply chain system caused by the COVID-19 epidemic have all become opportunities for Chinese cars to accelerate their efforts to go out to sea. During the COVID-19 epidemic, the global automobile industry chain suffered a serious impact. Some overseas automobile companies had to reduce the supply of vehicles due to the shortage of the supply chain, while China has a complete automobile industry chain, which can coordinate effectively.

For Chinese car companies, the vision can not be limited to domestic, going abroad is the last word.

In the past two years, many Chinese car companies, such as Great Wall, BYD, Changan, SAIC and Chery, have targeted overseas investment and building factories. Take BYD as an example, BYD has entered 59 countries and regions, including Japan, Germany, Australia, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and so on. "as a leading company in the new energy vehicle industry, BYD has more than 20 years of technology accumulation and has mastered the core technology of the whole industry chain of new energy vehicles, such as batteries, motors and electric controls, which gives us a deep insight and understanding of the technological change and strategic layout of the industry," a relevant BYD official said in an interview. " Data show that BYD sold 242800 new energy vehicles overseas in 2023.

In the field of pure electric vehicles, Tesla Shanghai Super Factory delivered 947000 vehicles in 2023, accounting for more than half of Tesla's global delivery. its Model 3 and Model Y are not only delivered in Chinese mainland, but also exported to Asia-Pacific, Europe and other markets. In 2023, 344000 "made in China Tesla" made by Shanghai super factories were exported to overseas markets, an increase of 26.9 percent over the same period last year.

The performance of China's auto exports is getting brighter and brighter, which is indeed easy to attract media attention, which is a big encouragement to Chinese cars. Fu Bingfeng, executive vice president and secretary general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said: we need to rationally realize that a country's car exports are counted according to the territorial principle, which also includes the number of cars produced by foreign brands locally and then exported, so the number of car exports cannot be simply taken as a criterion. In fact, the pace of Chinese automobile globalization is relatively late, and it has only entered the international market on a large scale in recent years, and the overseas layout and technology export of Chinese enterprises have just begun. It can be said that the international media's positioning of China as "the world's largest automobile exporter" expresses their recognition of China's automobile progress and acceptance of Chinese automobile products.

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