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4.14 million! China overtakes Japan to become the number one exporter of passenger cars

2024-04-22 Update From: AutoBeta NAV: AutoBeta > News >


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China overtook Japan to become the world's largest passenger car exporter in 2023.

According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, China exported 4.14 million passenger cars in 2023, an increase of 63.7 percent over the same period last year, while Japan exported 3.978 million passenger cars in 2023, according to data released by the Japan Association of Automobile Manufacturers. In other words, China overtook Japan to become the world's largest car exporter with a gap of 162000 vehicles. In the previous year, China's car exports surpassed Germany in 2022, ranking second in the world after Japan.

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 3.819 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.

It is precisely because of the rapid popularity of electric vehicles in China, more and more domestic brands go global. According to relevant statistics, the top three countries of China's passenger car exports in 2023 are Russia, Mexico and Belgium, of which Russia is far ahead of other countries. 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) entered the top 10.

Due to the impact of regional conflicts, car companies in Europe, America, Japan and South Korea have withdrawn from Russia one after another, giving Chinese brands the opportunity to seize the market. Mexico, on the other hand, has become a springboard for Chinese car companies to enter the American market because of its geographical location, policy, taxation and other conditions. Smaller car markets such as Spain and Belgium have outperformed because Chinese carmakers use them as transit points to land in Europe, and their sales will eventually be distributed to all parts of Europe, not all digested locally.

China's automobile exports have soared, on the one hand, because of the strong resilience of China's automobile supply chain, which has effectively supplemented the shortage of cars in foreign markets during the global epidemic; on the other hand, it is based on China's leading advantage in new energy vehicle technology and the continuous improvement of fuel vehicle technology, which has been recognized by foreign markets.

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.

The China Automobile Association predicts that China's car export sales will reach 5.5 million in 2024, an increase of 12% over the same period last year, and the growth rate will slow compared with previous years. After three years of rapid growth, the automobile export base has reached the level of about 5 million vehicles, so it will be difficult to sustain rapid growth. At the same time, the international economic situation remains in the doldrums, local war problems are prominent, Germany, Britain, the Netherlands and other European countries end ahead of schedule or reduce new energy subsidies, and other factors will affect China's automobile export market.

Previously, Chinese auto companies' overseas factories were mainly concentrated in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Latin America, Africa and other regions, with dozens of factories. Chery is the Chinese auto company with the largest number of overseas factories, with KD factories in Malaysia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Russia, Iran and Egypt. Traditional car companies are going out to sea intensively and powerfully, not only to find a second growth curve for themselves, but also to accelerate the global awareness of China's automobile industry as the capacity of the system is gradually built.

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