The position of the world’s largest car exporter saw a changing of the guard in the first quarter of the year. China overtook Japan as its exports crossed the million car mark. The Middle Kingdom was helped by demand for electric cars and car sales to Russia.
In the first quarter, China exported 1.07 million cars, up 58 percent year-on-year, according to official statistics released last week. From Japan, 954,185 cars traveled to world markets, six percent more than in the same period last year, writes the BBC news server. Chinese exports were boosted by demand for electric cars and sales to Russia.
Last year, China overtook Germany to become the world’s second largest exporter of cars. According to China’s General Administration of Customs, China exported roughly 3.2 million vehicles in 2022, while Germany exported 2.6 million vehicles.
The rise of China’s auto industry has helped fuel the shift away from fossil fuels. Exports of new energy vehicles (NEVs), which include electric cars, increased by more than 90 percent in the first quarter compared to the previous year.
China’s biggest exporters of NEVs include the Chinese branch of US company Tesla, SAIC, owner of the MG brand, and BYD, which is backed by US investor Warren Buffett.
Tesla has a huge manufacturing plant in Shanghai that exports to regions including Japan and Europe. Tesla’s giant factory, called the gigafactory, is currently capable of producing 1.25 million vehicles per year, the company plans to further increase capacity. Last month, it began production of Model Y SUVs for export to Canada.
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, when Western countries imposed trade sanctions on Moscow, China has also seen a sharp increase in exports to Russia. Last year, Chinese carmakers – including Geely, Chery and Great Wall – reported a surge in their share of the Russian market after rivals including Germany’s Volkswagen and Japan’s Toyota pulled out of the country following the invasion of Ukraine.
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