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Chinese Car Exports Continue to Soar as EV Share Grows


This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Katharina Buchholz


Chinese EVs continuing to make inroads around the world is reflected in the country's car export figures which have been soaring post-pandemic. The export of cars from China increased from around 1 million to 2 million between 2020 and 2021 to much media attention and has since continued to climb even more dramatically. In 2023, it reached almost 5 million, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.


According to official numbers, China shipped more cars abroad than Germany in 2022, becoming the second-biggest exporter, and more than Japan in 2023. Customs data, however, showed China still behind Japan at 5.2 million and 6.0 million cars leaving the respective countries in 2023. Yet, it seems clear that it is just a matter of time before China will become the biggest exporter of the world's fourth most valuable export good.


While most news about Chinese cars in Europe and North America focus on the nation's electric vehicles, they are far from the biggest export as China continues to ship a large number of conventional cars to Asia, the Middle East and Africa. EV sales to Europe have been surging most, however, and the share of EVs in China's car exports has been up to 25 percent from 15 percent just two years ago. As EVs sales have been slowing in China, carmakers are making bigger pushes to export that are felt overseas.


Chinese cars have received a mixed reception in the West as excitement about price advantages in the still-very-expensive electric vehicle segment has met security and quality concerns. Surveys in different European countries show how negative perceptions of Chinese cars remain high. The U.S., where the cars have made the fewest inroads, at the end of last month even launched a probe into data security concerns around Chinese connected cars, with President Joe Biden saying in a statement that the move was an "unprecedented action to ensure that cars on U.S. roads from countries of concern like China do not undermine our national security". The European Commission opened an investigation in October. Also under scrutiny are the massive amounts of aid China has given its carmakers, allegedly breaking international trade law.


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