In 2023, China became the world’s largest car exporter, surpassing Japan for the first time. The increase in overseas sales of electric vehicles contributed to this achievement.
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) reported that Japan shipped 4.42 million vehicles in 2023, while China exported 4.91 million vehicles, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
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China’s customs bureau reported an even higher number, at 5.22 million vehicles, representing a significant year-on-year increase of 57 percent. This growth was driven by a substantial rise in fully electric vehicle exports.
Factors Contributing to China’s Lead
There are several factors that have contributed to this shift in the global automotive export landscape:
- Electric Vehicle Demand: China’s dominance in the electric car market played a crucial role. The Chinese automakers, such as BYD Co., have capitalized on the global demand for all-electric vehicles aimed at reducing carbon emissions.
- Government Support: Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers have received strong support from the Chinese government, signaling a collaborative effort to push the export element of the automotive industry.
- Exports to Russia: Following the war in Ukraine, Japanese, U.S., and European automakers withdrew from the Russian market. Subsequently, China’s exports of gasoline-powered cars to Russia increased
- Quality and Cost Advantage: Improved quality and favorable pricing of Chinese-made cars, particularly in the EV sector, have made these vehicles attractive to international markets, including Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia China is ‘certain’ to have overtaken Japan as the world’s ….
Statistical data released demonstrates the ascent of China’s automotive exports:
- China exported 4.91 million vehicles in 2023, representing a 58 percent increase, compared to Japan’s 16 percent rise to 4.42 million vehicles China dethrones Japan as top car exporter in 2023 as EV sales grow.
- Chinese shipments to Russia surged manifold, reflecting the gravitation of the Russian market towards Chinese automotive exports.
Despite this achievement, maintaining the top spot might be a challenge for China due to several factors such as the high prices of EVs and a shortage of charging infrastructures, which are showing signs of causing global EV sales to slow down. Japanese automakers have been reevaluating their production strategies by focusing on gasoline-electric hybrids which offer higher mileage than pure EVs.
China’s surge to the top of the car exporting countries marks a significant shift in the automotive industry. It underscores the country’s growing influence in the global EV market, which has been instrumental in China’s rise as a leading car exporter. However, sustaining this lead will require continuous innovation and addressing market challenges like the rising costs and infrastructure demands that come with EV production and usage.
About the author
Li Zhong is a tech journalist who covers the latest developments in artificial intelligence, robotics, and biotechnology. Li is passionate about exploring the ethical and social implications of emerging technologies.