According to a report by Nikkei Asia, China has achieved the status of being the primary exporter of automobiles during the initial half of 2023. Within a span of just six months, China managed to surpass Japan in this aspect, driven by the growing global sales of Chinese electric cars.
The report mentioned that major Chinese automakers exported 2.14 million vehicles from January to June. As per data obtained from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), the number of exports has risen by almost 76 per cent for the year, while the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association indicated that Japan remained at 2.14 million with an increase in exports by 17 per cent.
China was already ahead of Japan, with higher exports the January-March quarter. The rise in exports comes with the development of the electronic vehicle (EV) industry and its increasing demand in European and Russian markets.
From January to June, China’s exports of new energy vehicles, such as EVs, plug-in hybrids, and fuel cell cars, more than doubled to account for 25 per cent of the nation’s overall automobile exports. While its top Chinese rival BYD exported more than 80,000 vehicles, Tesla exported more than 180,000 vehicles using its Shanghai facility as an export hub for Asia.
During the same time, China exported 287,000 automobiles to Russia, which included gasoline-powered cars, as per customs data compiled by CAAM. After Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, South Korean, Japanese, and European automakers reduced their presence in Russia. To fill this need, Chinese brands have entered the Russian market.
Belgium, a crucial European transit hub that is electrifying its auto fleet, and Mexico, where demand for gasoline-powered vehicles is strong, were also high on the list of destinations for Chinese exports.
China had the most car sales for newly manufactured vehicles in 2022 with a total of 26.86 million vehicles sold globally. EV sales in Japan as a whole, including gasoline-powered vehicles, hit 5.36 million, exceeding the country’s total new vehicle sales of 4.2 million.
According to a 2027 prediction by American company AlixPartners, 39 per cent of new car sales in China will be electric vehicles. That would surpass the predicted 23 per cent global EV uptake.
Government incentives for EV sales have significantly increased demand in China. Chinese manufacturers like BYD are anticipated to sell 65 per cent of the nation’s electric vehicles by 2030.
Chinese automakers are able to increase their export competitiveness with an increase in domestic supply for lithium-ion-batteries, influencing the performance and prices of EVs.
“After 2025, Chinese automakers are likely to take a significant share of Japan’s major export markets, including the U.S.”, Nikkei Asia quoted Tomoyuki Suzuki, the managing director at AlixPartners in Tokyo as saying.