According to Chinese officials, China has announced that it has overtaken Japan to become the world’s largest exporter of cars in the first quarter of this year.
In the period, China exported 1.07 million vehicles, showing a significant increase of 58% compared to the first quarter of the previous year. Meanwhile, Japan’s vehicle exports reached 954,185, registering a modest 6% increase from the previous year.
China’s success in car exports can be attributed to the rising demand for electric vehicles and sales to countries like Russia.
In 2022, China surpassed Germany to become the world’s second-largest car exporter, with 3.2 million vehicles exported, compared to Germany’s 2.6 million.
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The growth of China’s motor industry has been fueled by the transition to cleaner energy sources. The exports of new energy vehicles (NEVs), which include electric cars, have increased by more than 90% in the first quarter compared to the previous year.
Prominent Chinese car exporters of NEVs include Tesla’s China arm, SAIC (owner of the MG brand), and BYD (backed by Warren Buffett). Tesla operates a large manufacturing plant in Shanghai, exporting vehicles to regions such as Japan and Europe. Tesla’s “Gigafactory” currently has a production capacity of 1.25 million vehicles per year, with plans for further expansion.
China’s car exports to Russia have also witnessed a significant surge, particularly since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict when Western countries imposed trade sanctions on Moscow. Chinese automakers such as Geely, Chery, and Great Wall saw their market share in Russia increase after competitors like Volkswagen and Toyota withdrew from the market following the Ukrainian invasion.