(Yicai Global) May 16 -- China's car exports rose by nearly 60 percent in the first quarter so the country surpassed Japan as the world's largest automotive exporter.
From January to March, China’s automobile exports expanded by 58 percent to almost 1.1 million units from a year ago, according to the latest data from the General Administration of Customs. Meanwhile, Japan exported 954,000 vehicles, per the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.
The overhand is predicted to continue as China’s car exports may surge nearly 30 percent to reach four million vehicles this year, also more than the annual estimate for Japan, the China Passenger Car Association said earlier.
The trend has been visible for a while as China exported 3.1 million vehicles last year to overtake Germany to become the world's second-largest auto exporter right behind Japan.
Chinese carmakers are seeking new growth abroad as exports accounted for almost 12 percent of China’s total auto sales last year, and the percentage climbed to nearly 18 percent in the first quarter.
If the share rises to 20 percent, China will not be far from the goal of becoming a powerful auto country, according to Shi Jianhua, deputy secretary-general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
China’s auto exports have surged in recent years because suppliers have been less affected by the chip and battery shortages in Europe, the United States, and Japan, and they have been able to fill the output gap of new energy vehicles and gas-powered cars, according to an auto exporter in Wuhu, Anhui province.
Competition in the Chinese market is intensifying so local carmakers can increase their sales and make decent profits by exporting their products, per analysts.
Last month, China’s vehicle exports jumped to 425,000 units, up almost three times from a year earlier, according to data from the CAAM. SAIC Motor exported 82,000 units, up almost threefold. BYD's exports soared the most with a nearly 17-fold surge to 15,000 units.
From January to April, Chinese carmakers exported 1.4 million vehicles, up 89 percent from a year earlier. NEV exports totaled 348,000 units, rising almost three times.
Editor: Emmi Laine, Xiao Yi