China became the world leader in automobile exports in the first six months of 2023, surpassing Japan at the half-year mark for the first time as more Chinese electric cars sold worldwide, reports Nikkei Asia. Major Chinese automakers exported 2.14 million vehicles from January to June, up 76% on the year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). Japan lagged at 2.02 million, for a gain of 17% on the year, data from the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association shows.
China was already ahead of Japan in the January-March quarter. Its export growth owes to a booming trade in EVs and gains in the European and Russian markets.
China’s exports of new energy vehicles, which include EVs, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles, more than doubled in the January-June half to reach 25% of the country’s total auto exports. Tesla, which uses its Shanghai plant as an export hub for Asia, exported more than 180,000 vehicles, while its leading Chinese rival BYD logged exports of more than 80,000 autos.