China is roaring up to give Japan a run for its money as the top vehicle exporter in the world, having left Germany in its dust.
The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said that in 2022, China shipped 3.11 million vehicles abroad, roughly half a million vehicles more than Germany, which shipped out 2.61 million vehicles to other nations, according to CarScoops.
Japan’s full-year data was not available, but it was at 3.2 million vehicles through November.
China’s figure represented a 54 percent increase over 2021.
“Rising exports are a clear sign that Chinese carmakers’ development and manufacturing capabilities have largely improved following four decades of efforts,” CEO of Shanghai Mingliang Auto Service Chen Jinzhu said, according to the South China Morning Post.
Electric vehicles are a major force in China’s growth. Citic Securities has projected that in 2030, China will export 5.5 million vehicles, with 2.5 million of them being electric.
William Li, CEO of Nio, said his company will be a force in North America by 2027.
“We are planting the seeds to chase new growth opportunities outside China. Nio does not aim to be a copycat. Instead, we want to carve out a reputation in the international market,” he said last month.
Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association, said that in addition to African and Middle Eastern markets, Chinese automakers are making inroads in North America and Europe in nations such as Mexico and Belgium, according to the state-run China Daily.
China is the world’s main producer of electric vehicle batteries and other components, the South China Morning Post reported.
“If you have that kind of supply chain, that kind of position on the chess board, then why wouldn’t you take that internationally?” CEO of Automobility Bill Russo said, according to Business Insider.
“There’s a difference between people’s allegiances to their country and what they buy at the store. One thing that’s absolutely universal is people buy affordability,” he said.
But would Americans buy a Chinese car?
“By far the biggest obstacle is politics. You have a lot of anti-China sentiment. If they can somehow overcome that, I think a lot of Chinese auto companies would love to get a crack at the market,” Deutsche Bank analyst Edison Yu said.
Europe is already bracing for battle.
“We have to have them on the radar screen, without counting out the usual suspects,” Mercedes-Benz Group AG Chief Executive Officer Ola Kallenius said, according to Bloomberg. “The competitive intensity is increasing.”
“To fight the Chinese, we will have to have comparable cost structures. Alternatively, Europe will have to decide to close its borders at least partially to Chinese rivals. If Europe doesn’t want to put itself in this position, we need to work harder on the competitiveness of what we do,” Stellantis NV CEO Carlos Tavares said last month.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.