China says it has overtaken Japan to emerge as the world’s biggest exporter of cars in the first quarter of the year.
China exported 1.07 million vehicles in the period, up 58 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2022, according to data from China’s General Administration of Customs.
At the time, Japan’s vehicle exports stood at 954,185, after edging up 6 per cent from a year earlier, according to a BBC report.
China exported 3.2 million vehicles in 2022, compared to Germany’s 2.6 million vehicle exports. It said China’s exports were boosted by demand for electric cars and sales to Russia.
Last year, China overtook Germany to become the world’s second-largest car exporter, as the shift away from fossil fuels helped expand the rise of China’s motor industry.
Reports said that China has also seen exports to Russia surge since the start of the Ukraine war, as Western countries imposed trade sanctions on Moscow.
Last year, Chinese carmakers, including Geely, Chery and Great Wall, saw their market share in Russia jump after rivals, including Volkswagen and Toyota, quit the country following the invasion of Ukraine.
First-quarter exports of new energy vehicles (NEVs), which include electric cars, rose by more than 90 per cent compared to a year earlier.
Tesla’s China arm, SAIC – the owner of the MG brand and BYD, which veteran US investor Warren Buffett backs, are among China’s top exporters of NEVs.
Elon Musk‘s electric carmaker has a huge manufacturing plant in Shanghai, which exports to regions including Japan and Europe.
Tesla’s ‘Gigafactory’ is currently capable of producing 1.25 million vehicles a year, and the company is planning to increase capacity further.
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