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China overtook Japan as world's top vehicle exporter in 2023

69 Comments
By Etienne BALMER

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Instead of fully electric models, Japanese manufacturers have long bet on hybrids that combine battery power and internal combustion engines, an area they pioneered with the likes of the Toyota Prius.

at least in the US, the hybrids are better from a driver's point of view because the charging station situation is still a mess.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

Congratulations China!

Thanks to European &Korean,Japanese auto manufacturers leave Russia that created a void for China's auto to fill in .Much of the Chinese autos were exported to the Russian market. That's why the Chinese match-up to exceed Japanese no.1 status became easy!

-21 ( +9 / -30 )

Wow! That must hurt the Japanese car manufacturers, both financially and their pride. Perhaps all the scandals involving Japanese car manufacturers falsifying data are starting to catch up with them.

There are many Chinese and Korean brands of cars in Australia. The Korean cars are (KIA & Hyundai) excellent!

-14 ( +16 / -30 )

Japan 'asleep at the wheel' again.

-10 ( +20 / -30 )

There are many Chinese and Korean brands of cars in Australia. The Korean cars are (KIA & Hyundai) excellent!

I'm actually surprised at how much Hyundai and Kia have developed over the years. They are starting to make pretty neat cars with pretty cool exterior and interior designs. With cars looking similar and bland nowadays, it is refreshing to see Hyundai make cars with edges again! Not to mention affordable too! Check out this beauty:

https://www.caranddriver.com/hyundai/santa-fe

Still a Japanese car fan at heart, but I like me some competition.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

I remember around 1966, when the US magazine Consumer Reports summed up its review of a Subaru mini-van by writing, "It was a pleasure to squirm out of the Subaru, slam the door and walk away." A decade later, following the Mideast oil embargo, Americans were buying up the gas-thrifty Japanese cars in droves. If the Chinese can compete in terms of value-for-money, with no sacrifices in reliability, crashworthiness and passenger safety, then more power to them.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

China's four biggest carmakers are owned by the communist state. Most of the makers in the top ten are state owned. China is widely predicted to soon become the world's biggest auto manufacturer, not to mention the biggest economy. Communism rules!

2 ( +14 / -12 )

Why do you thin Musk is desperately trying to get trade barriers set up

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Japanese cars are excellent and so reliable.

However they make some of the ugliest cars on the road especially Toyota with their horrible front grilles.

Mazda cars are an exception though and are very stylish.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

They can export their garbage as much as they want! It is NOT good quality cars!!! Russia has been importing Chinese cars for a long time and there is an endless list of problems with them.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

@Spirfite Mazda may look good but their mileage and engine quality is well below par !

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Elephant...

Much of the Chinese autos were exported to the Russian market.

Sales to Russia have increased but the Russian market is a small portion of China's car export market. China has nearly doubled its exports every year for the past 4 years. They dominate the cheap runabout market but are making huge inroads into the mid range and semi luxury sectors too. The latest BYD all electrics are a match for Tesla.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Recently in Victoria Australia, a Chinese car model was prohibited from registration because of crappy safety measures.

Japanese built cars will remain my choice.

Cheap is not good.

Lots of fires in Chinese e bike batteries as well.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

As looooooooolong as the Chinese, Korean and Japanese car manufacturers do not stop producing petrol-run cars and, produce electric cars instead they are poisoning the lungs of the world's people and enriching themselves.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Don't even mention Chinese made batteries!!! I have plenty of experience with that garbage!!! They don't last even one fifth of the time compared to ones made in Japan or even Indonesia!

8 ( +12 / -4 )

With lower price entry point Chinese EVs can help reduce air and noise pollution in parts of the world you will not see a Tesla. One Chinese manufacturer is setting up a factory in Thailand.

China will not target the North America market due to the capricious nature of American trade policy.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

@GuruMick Have you not read the headlines lately, Daihatsu (Toyota subsidiary) and also Toyota Industries Corp (makes their diesel engines) just admitted to fabricating (lying!) on safety data for decades. Fujitsu with it's Post Office software scandal in the UK, many people committed suicide over it, how long did Fujitsu know there was a problem and didn't fix it. What about the fallout of Abe and the scandals he left behind now coming to light in the News daily. Don't let Japan fool you mate, they are masters at hiding and cheating and lying, no different from the country you are not a fan of in your comment. This idea Japan is "special" needs to be squashed, they are no different than many other countries, full of scandals and bribery and greed, etc etc.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Electric cars are really fun to drive. I think the only big problem infrastructure. Japan has great infrastructure and they could easily get charging stations up and running everywhere. The U.S. is a different beast. They still haven’t figured out high speed trains.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Congratulation to Both Japan and China for their efforts to produce EV's . the world needs to get rid of combustion engines so any in crease in EV'S is good news regardless of who or where.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Turns out the WORLD REALLY LIKES EVs!! Why?

1) Clean Air 2) Quiet

3) Convenient charging at home, no dirty gas stations

4) More and better charging stations daily

5) No oil changes or tune-ups or filters

6) Huge cost savings on per/mile basis, 60-70%

7) Approx 90% global charging happens at home at night

What's not to like? Just question of transition time, FYI EV TRUCKING happening VERY FAST = pure economics

China's COMMITTED to EV & Taiwan Re-Unification!

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Japanese cars are excellent and so reliable.

However they make some of the ugliest cars on the road especially Toyota with their horrible front grilles.

Mazda cars are an exception though and are very stylish.

> @Spirfite Mazda may look good but their mileage and engine quality is well below par !

Mazdas were pieces of trash back in the day, but ever since they started to make parts in-house, they have gotten significantly better. Transmissions run better, engines last longer, handling is great! They are also partnered with Toyota's manufacturing, so the quality will only get better. I love my cx-5, fun to drive, and has enough zoom zoom to get me around. Mazda was never on my list when buying used, but I don't regret it at all.

Only Toyota can compete with Kia (Hyundai si not as good) in style, performance, technology handling and value (believe me I've tried them all).

I believe you, I'm just surprised at how much they have improved over the years.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wow! That must hurt the Japanese car manufacturers, both financially and their pride.

and

Japan 'asleep at the wheel' again.

I guess someone did not read the article.

 including Toyota -- reconfirmed on Tuesday as the world's largest company by unit sales -- also make huge volumes of vehicles in other countries.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

with the EV market, CHINA will be number 1 for a long time!

Japan's economy will end soon. this is why KISHIDA try to spark a WAR by teasing NK and China and RUSSIA.

-18 ( +2 / -20 )

Japanese cars are excellent and so reliable.

However they make some of the ugliest cars on the road especially Toyota with their horrible front grilles.

Mazda cars are an exception though and are very stylish.

 @Spirfite Mazda may look good but their mileage and engine quality is well below par !

Meant to separate this: Mazdas were pieces of trash back in the day, but ever since they started to make parts in-house, they have gotten significantly better. Transmissions run better, engines last longer, handling is great! They are also partnered with Toyota's manufacturing, so the quality will only get better. I love my cx-5, fun to drive, and has enough zoom zoom to get me around. Mazda was never on my list when buying used, but I don't regret it at all.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Funny article, and incorrect to boot:

China comes just shy of Japan as the world’s largest car exporter

https://www.cnbc.com/2024/01/31/china-comes-just-shy-of-japan-as-the-worlds-largest-car-exporter.html

2 ( +4 / -2 )

There are many Chinese and Korean brands of cars in Australia.

What car does your ex wife drive ? What car do you drive?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

As predicted, Japan falling behind in every single field, soon to be left in the dust since they refuse to change and advance.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

Unlike their Chinese counterparts, Japanese automakers including Toyota -- reconfirmed on Tuesday as the world's largest company by unit sales -- also make huge volumes of vehicles in other countries.

In 2022, vehicle production in Japan excluding motorcycles totalled 7.84 million units, but overseas production was almost 17 million units

Mitsubishi, Mazda and Honda have factories in other countries, too. Their cars sold here down under are all manufactured in Thailand. Japan still is kinda no. 1.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Mr. Kipling,

Sales to Russia have increased but the Russian market is a small portion of China's car export market.

Not anymore. Almost a million of those 4.9m exports went to Russia in 2023, a jump of over 500% from 2022.

Without the west's sanctions on Russia, Japan would have kept the No.1 spot easily.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The Chinese domestic vehicle market dwarfs that of Japan, 26.8 million v. 4.2 million (2022, Statista).

1 ( +3 / -2 )

at least in the US, the hybrids are better from a driver's point of view because the charging station situation is still a mess.

Fully agree, with few exceptions EV infrastructure is still inadequate in most countries.

But yeah, China's car industry appears unstoppable, they managed to do in 5 years what took Koreans 10 and Japan 20.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan's auto industry probably faces greater global challenges due to digitalization and EV transition, than any manufacturing industry in history of the world.

Everyone globally considers ICE vehicles to have no future. It's not talked about much, but India's massive micro new vehicle, motorcycle cycle and scooter market has transitioned to EV faster than almost anywhere. New sales b/w 2 and 3M units per year and growing fast.

Have not read latest figures, but from 2019 to 2022, sales went from almost 0% to over 50%. Typical user does not travel far, saves about 75% or more in fuel costs, many charge their small batteries with solar panels etc. Turns out they like quiet and clean air too!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Isn't it mainly electric cars though? I remember reading somewhere that Chinese electric cars are increasing a lot in Europe. Stylish designs and cheap price means that they can compete with the other electric cars on the market.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I can't say about the quality of these cars but my experience with chinese bikes made me avoid any kind of chinese vehicle like the plage.

I bought 2 of them, for no other reason than looking a bit different from the others seen on the streets (omnipresent PCX 150, etc).

Almost every month I had some kind of problem, faulty parts, breaking here, leaking there, few months in and I couldnt see a damn thing in the dashboard, the speed every little thing deteriorated was ridiculous. Never again.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Why do you thin Musk is desperately trying to get trade barriers set up

Because mainland china is so kind toward everyone else.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCzU5BF-110

2 ( +2 / -0 )

China's CCP certainly running their economy and in control of corps. But they do have shareholders, Warren Buffett's had major stake in BYD, largest EV company.

All of these auto companies need a global brand, customers and shareholders. Govt. backing's most important for supply chain issues and infrastructure like charging, tax incentives etc. Govt. officials are ill equipped to manage auto corps. day to day.

What can be said about CCP, they've done well in backing the EV industry, so somewhat of an offset to their real massive estate debacle one might say. But CCP over-reach riving top Chinese talent out of China, as nobody likes heavy hand of Govt., especially in tech.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Top Mgmt. Consulting firms like McKinsey believe auto will be less than half of present global GPD by 2060, why?

1) Car Share 2) Robo Taxis 3) Autonomous 4) EV costs and servicing far lower 5) Greater Auto asset utilization 6) Far longer life of EV vehicles

Anyone thinking EV's got this great long term volume growth path might need to think again, serious money will be made in digital EV services, EV's just hardware race to the bottom, like any other hardware.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This may be sort-of true, but it doesn't take into account the vast number of Japanese cars built overseas.

And while Chinese companies have been selling a lot of EVs thanks to government subsidies in various countries, those subsidies are drying up, leaving lots of EVs on the lot unsellable. This is because the charging infrastructure can't be built to service the demand, at least not at an affordable price, and more reports of exploding EVs. This is also driving up (pardon the pun) insurance costs, further souring the taste of EVs. EVs have a place, but they won't dominate. The future is a mix of ICEs on various fuels, hybrids, and EVs.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

It's very early for the Chinese auto exporters cerebration although they have done a great job. Not only the issues on anti-competitive practices will create head wind but also most nation power grids can't sustain battery charging demand rendering EV useless in the long run.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I wouldn't ride in one of those jalopies.

Back the thing into a mailbox and they'll need the jaws of life to get you out of that chunk of crap.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

This is true but only in large nations such as the US and Aussie. Europe, NZ etc. have great charging coverage

Not really. Even with good higher coverage, owners are getting tired of waiting for a long time to charge their vehicles at charging stations. Not mention that these stations need to draw enormous volumes of power to give a fast charge, and this drives up competition for power because there is only a limited amount of generating capacity. Simple economics dictates that this results in higher prices and a greater strain on the grid.

More EVs on the roads is only going to make this worse because it takes a lot of time to build up the generation capacity from new /upgraded power stations and dispersed sources like solar panels and windmills. There's no way solar and wind will be able to keep up with demand, so other sources like nuclear, hydrogen, ammonia, hydro, and fossil fuels to provide the baseload.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Consulting firms like McKinsey believe few will need to own & maintain EVs in future, except as status symbol or ride share autonomous biz taxi partner with likes of Tesla etc.

As most don't want to own, maintain, pay for parking, insurance, etc. Global auto market's turning into digital based service mobility day by day for decades to come!

Thus % Global GDP that's automative, about half by 2060.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I own a Suzuki-brand scooter built in Jinan, China. It might not incorporate the state-of-the-art, but it has required no maintenance since I bought it and starts right up on cold mornings. It covers all the basics, and that's good enough for me.

Like Japan after WW2. China developed its motor industry with motorcycles and scooters. After it determined the quality and reliability of China-built two-wheelers were up to Japanese standards, Honda revived its "Benly" line of scooters with commercial models imported from China.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The car market is so stratified now that its hard to know what this means.

Japan is certainly behind when it comes to total EVs sales, but what nobody really knows what kind of market penetration is possible for EVs on what kind of timescale. As things stand, hundreds of millions of people worldwide can't buy an EV because they haven't got a charging point. They do not have land they own to install a charging point on. It may be easy to sell EVs to the whatever % of early adopters have their own drive, but car manufacturers can't give people their own drive. In many places, they are already struggling at putting enough working charging points in for the few EVs that exist already.

The biggest disruptor though is not EVs, it is self driving. A self driving car does not need to sit unused on your drive or even be owned by you. All it needs to do is take you where you want when you want. The other 90% of the time, it can be taking someone else where they want with no involvement from you. Self driving challenges the whole concept of car ownership and what a car is. It is possible that whichever big data company cracks it will take all the spoils and manufacturers will be reduced to the same level as companies making Android smartphones. In fifteen years time, nobody may care who makes the most cars, because doing so is not really profitable any more.

As for Toyota or other Japanese cars being "behind", the 2023 Prius is compellling, actually good styling, leading fuel economy and low emissions as ever, and 0-100km/h one tick slower than legendary fast cars like a Sierra Cosworth. In an eco car you can buy with 4wd! Toyota also now make the Gazoo Yaris, pretty much the hottest hot hatch out there. Dull and boring companies don't make hot hatches.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Well, historically speaking, anything concerned with state-of-the-art technology came to Japan sometime directly and some other time via Korean Peninsula, that was refined furthermore here. Is this the repeat of that history?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

 as reported by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers this month.

Yeah, it must be true, china said so.

The bigger question not answered, who is buying these made in china, chinese cars?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

So?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

fake news?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The bigger question not answered, who is buying these made in china, chinese cars?

Many people have never heard of Xiaomi, China's second mobile phone brand after the famous Huawei. It has the world's second largest market share after Korea's Samsung. As for passenger cars, incremental progress suddenly turned into a flood and I suppose China caught the crest of the wave of new demand.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

yeah, but seriously, i see no chinese commies cars on the roads. i wonder if all of them is sold to Iran, Russia or NK only

2 ( +3 / -1 )

JeffLee..

China is widely predicted to soon become the world's biggest auto manufacturer,

A bit late. Since 2022. That includes foreign brands made in China. As do the figures for the US and Europe.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Paul...

They can export their garbage as much as they want! It is NOT good quality cars!!! Russia has been importing Chinese cars for a long time and there is an endless list of problems with them.

This is not the case. Many Chinese car first time buyers in Russia were worried about quality but the vast majority are more than happy. Many are now going to be brand loyal. VW shot themselves in the foot.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Sorry, but I would never buy a car that after 1 or 2 years starts to have various issues, has extremely cheap quality and very poor maintanance. Just check the Chinese electric cars reviews all over the Internet...

That's very true that Japanese cars are ugly and without any style (except Lexus), but from reliability point of view, are still one of the best in the world.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I'm certain that I will never see Chinese cars dominating the US market. At least while the CCP rule it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japanese cars had quite a bad reputation back in the day, due to quality (perceived or not). I'm sure China, as did Korea, will go through the same curve. Whether we as consumers want to buy them is kind of irrelevant, as individuals. Someone is obviously buying them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Chinese brands are not dominating The US, JPN, EU, the largest markets outside of China itself.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Who is buying Chinese cars? Not happening where I live. Have maybe seen one or two, if that.

As for EV charging stations, we have plenty of them here in Cali. Last year, more than 25% of all cars sold in the state were EVs. Can't go anywhere without seeing Teslas and Mustang EVs. They say that Hyundai and Kia EVs have outsold GM and Ford EVs.

If the rest of the US would catch up to California, it would be better for the environment and the economy.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I wouldn't take one of those toasters if they gave it to me free. Research the product reliability of those electric cars made in China its own citizen won't buy them because they are like toasters as one put it, you never know when you will be in a oven fire. When the consumers complained customer service asked them to come back the next day and they promised to fix it. The next day was the same advice. No way I would by one as one citizen said they look like a fire place but parked on the street as he watched one explode and burn.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

EV's are not the panacea to solving the problem of climate change. Only now automotive experts are beginning to see the downside of EV's as the population of EV's increases.

In additions to vehicles fires, insufficient or defective charging stations, premature tire wear, and higher insurance premiums, a new problem of weak road barriers and multi-deck parking garages unable to handle the added weight of EV's.

Will our existing freeways and highways need to be upgraded in the interest of public safety and at what costs?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

EV's are not the panacea to solving the problem of climate change

Who is saying they are?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Very good for China..

Keep going Japan..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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