China overtakes Japan as world’s largest vehicle exporter – report

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Booming sales globally of vehicles made in China has resulted in Japan being toppled as the world’s largest auto exporter.

Global automotive powerhouse Japan is no longer the world’s largest exporter of vehicles, as China has claimed victory for the first time, according to overseas reports.

After taking the top spot in the opening three months of last year, the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) estimates approximately 3.83 million light vehicles – passenger cars, SUVs, utes, vans and light trucks – were exported from the world’s second-most populated country in 2023, Automotive News reports.

When trucks and buses are included in the figure, it rises to an estimated 5.26 million – or almost 1 million more than Japan’s expected total of 4.3 million exports.

According to the CPCA, growing markets for Chinese cars such as Mexico and Europe were the driving force behind a 62 per cent year-on-year increase in exports, though Russia is believed to be one of the main contributors to the larger figure.

As previously reported, sales of Chinese cars in Russia have skyrocketed since the latter’s invasion of Ukraine in March 2022 – which sparked parts supply interruptions and the subsequent discontinuation of imports and production by established manufacturers.

China’s impressive export increase has come despite most car makers choosing not to enter the US market amid tensions between the two country’s governments.

Automotive News reports US electric-car giant Tesla exported 344,078 vehicles from its Shanghai factory last year – 46,116 of which were subsequently sold in Australia.

China-based brands such as BYD and MG are also understood to have been behind the export surge, though specific figures on how many vehicles were sold overseas by the two companies are yet to be released. 

Last year, 193,433 vehicles made in China were reported as sold in Australia last year, making it the third-largest source of new cars in the local market and accounting for 15.9 per cent of the total figure.

Jordan Mulach is Canberra/Ngunnawal born, currently residing in Brisbane/Turrbal. Joining the Drive team in 2022, Jordan has previously worked for Auto Action, MotorsportM8, The Supercars Collective and TouringCarTimes, WhichCar, Wheels, Motor and Street Machine. Jordan is a self-described iRacing addict and can be found on weekends either behind the wheel of his Octavia RS or swearing at his ZH Fairlane.

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