(Yicai) Aug. 9 -- China toppled Japan to be the world’s biggest automobile exporter in the first half, the first time it has done so on a semi-annual basis after China ranked first in the first quarter thanks to booming exports to Europe and Russia.
China exported over 2.3 million vehicles in the first six months, a leap of 76.9 percent from a year ago, according to the latest data from the General Administration of Customs of China. While Japan exported 2 million units, a gain of 17 percent, according to statistics from the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.
China’s automobile exports this year have been boosted by strong new energy vehicle sales in Europe and a big jump in demand for its fossil fuel-powered vehicles in Russia.
The country’s exports of NEVs doubled in the six months ended June 30 to 800,000 units, accounting for 34 percent of all car exports. This included 770,000 electric passenger vehicles, a surge of 113 percent year on year and a much higher growth rate than that for all car exports at 76.9 percent.
Sales to Europe were particularly strong. Of this, China exported over 100,000 EVs to Belgium and the UK, 70,000 to Spain and 50,000 to Italy.
China’s NEV exports to Europe accounted for 36 percent of all car exports last year, up from 19 percent in 2017, according to a report by KPMG China.
Meanwhile, its exports of gasoline-powered vehicles to Russia surged more than seven-fold, making Russia the country’s biggest car export destination, said Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association.
China has been filling the gap after many multinational automakers, including Japan’s Honda Motor, Germany’s BMW and the US’ General Motors, said that they were suspending exports to Russia temporarily due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
As a result, Chinese autos made up 49 percent of all new car sales in Russia as of the end of June, up from 22 percent in June last year, according to Russian vehicle market research firm Autostat.
Exports have become a new growth point for Chinese automakers as competition at home intensifies.
SAIC Motor exported the most vehicles in the first half at 483,000 vehicles, followed by Chery Holding Group with 394,000 units, which accounted for more than half of its sales, and Tesla with 182,000 units, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
China Chang'an Automobile Group, Great Wall Motor, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and Dongfeng Motor Corp. all exported more than 100,000 vehicles in the first six months.
Editor: Kim Taylor