China automobile exports surpassing Japan is an inevitable result of industrial transformation and upgrading

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China automobile exports surpassing Japan is an inevitable result of industrial transformation and upgrading

Feb 6th ,2024

In 2023, China surpassed Japan and became the world's largest automobile exporter.

According to statistics from the General Administration of Customs of China, China's automobile exports in 2023 were 5.221 million units, a year-on-year increase of 57.4%. Among them, 1.773 million electric passenger vehicles were exported throughout the year, an increase of 67.1%. Data released by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association shows that Japan’s automobile export volume last year was more than 4.42 million vehicles.

Recently, in an exclusive interview with China Daily, Liu Xueliang, general manager of BYD's Asia Pacific Auto Sales Division, said that it is inevitable that China's automobile export volume would surpass Japan's in the process of industrial transformation and social upgrading and development. In the field of new energy vehicles, China is at the forefront of the world. Today, the richness of China's new energy vehicle products, the maturity and stability of its technology have been verified one by one in the past 10 years of development. He predicated that after China's automobile export volume surpasses Japan's in 2023, it will continue to maintain its number one position in automobile export volume.

Liu Xueliang said: "Today is an era where batteries, motors, and electronic controls lead the development of automobiles. China's battery industry occupies a considerable market share in the world, not only because of its large output, but more importantly, its mastery of core technologies. Because of this, Only Chinese companies can produce products using these core technologies and play a leading role in the world. In the development of new energy vehicles in the past 10 years, Chinese car companies have invested a lot in technology. The world should be allowed to see that Chinese technology playing a leading role in the development of new energy vehicles. The success is indispensable.”

BYD's overseas development is closely related to China's booming electric vehicle exports. In 2015, BYD electric buses came to Japan for the first time as a Chinese automobile brand. It took nearly 10 years for the Japanese public transportation industry to feel the reliability and trustworthiness of the company's electric buses. Today, BYD has launched nearly 200 electric buses in Japan, accounting for more than 70% of the local market share. There are 24 prefectures in Japan using BYDs electric buses.

In September 2023, BYD Dolphin was launched in Japan, with its low-end version priced at 3.63 million yen (approximately US$24,581). Thanks to subsidies related to electric vehicles, the actual price dropped to 2.98 million yen.

Shinya Omori, the head of a Japanese automobile consulting company, said in an interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun that BYD Dolphin is economical, and the compact car category which it belongs to is very popular in Japan. These factors may contribute to the model's rapid sales success in Japan.

Still, a source close to the Japanese automaker expressed concerns about BYD's brand recognition in Japan, arguing it could hinder widespread adoption of the model.

Currently, the adoption of electric vehicles in Japan is slow. Japanese consumers have relatively few electric vehicle models to choose from. BYD conducted a survey when it entered the Japanese passenger car market. The results showed that consumers expressed interest in electric vehicles, but they did not find a suitable model in the Japanese market.

On the other hand, Japan's hybrid cars are very good and have high market recognition. This may affect the development speed of pure electric vehicles.

Despite this, Japanese car companies have successively released news about the upcoming launch of electric vehicles, including light electric vehicles suitable for Japanese society. The Japanese government has also actively launched carbon neutrality goals and subsidy support for electric vehicles. Japan plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by fiscal year 2030 based on fiscal year 2013, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Liu Xueliang believes that in order to achieve the above goals, popularizing electric vehicles is a very important way. "Electric vehicles are not targeted at a single market, but represent the overall development trend and direction in the future. Japan may still need more time. However, we have the necessity and ability to let Japanese consumers understand BYD's products through different scenarios. The product has a full touch.”

On January 11, 2024, the Japan Automobile Importers Association announced that the imported sale of new pure electric vehicles from foreign manufacturers in 2023 would be 22,890 units, a significant increase of 59.6% from the previous year, exceeding 20,000 units for the first time.

According to Japan's Kyodo News Agency, the influence of overseas manufacturers in the electric vehicle market has gradually emerged. Among imported cars, electric vehicles accounted for a record high of 9.2%. Tesla, BYD, and Mercedes-Benz ranked top in sales, driving overall sales to increase.