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China Surpasses Japan in Automobile Exports in 2023

China's automobile exports overtook those of Germany in 2022, becoming the second largest automobile exporter in the world. Since September 2022, China has been exporting over 300,000 units every month. Moreover, exports from January to April 2023 surpassed those of Japan, making China the world's largest exporter, with annual exports expected to exceed 4 million units in 2023. Until now, Japanese automakers mainly competed in the Chinese market with Chinese manufacturers, but in the future, competition will be inevitable in the global market as well.

Analysis based on export data released by GACC (General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China) and JAMA (Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association) reveals that competition between Chinese and Japanese manufacturers is intensifying in many regions such as Australia, Europe and ASEAN. Chinese car brands, which until recently had the image of low-end products, are now competing with Japanese manufacturers in a wide price range which will eventually force Japanese OEMs to review their overseas strategies.

With the support of the Chinese government, exports of medium-range and high-end electric vehicles have also surged. According to export data on passenger vehicles released by GACC, electric vehicles from January to April 2023 accounted for 37% of the total, up 2.2-fold from the same period of last year. While the largest export market of conventional vehicles is Russia, the main export destinations for electric vehicles are developed countries such as Belgium, Spain, the United Kingdom and Australia, and developing countries in Asia such as Thailand and the Philippines. In ASEAN, in addition to the increase in exports of Chinese-made electric vehicles, Chinese manufacturers have begun local production, so it is expected that competition with Japanese manufacturers, which dominate the local market, will intensify.

Map: China: Scale of Automobile Exports by Destination (YTD April 2023)
Bar graph: China / Japan: Export Volume of Automobiles (2018-2023)Line graph: China / Japan: Export Volume of Automobiles (Jan. 2021-Apr. 2023)
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