China exported 994,000 vehicles overseas in the first quarter, and many of them compete in the same price range as the Koreans
Chinese-made cars continue to rise in popularity globally, so much so that China established itself as the world’s top automobile exporter in the first quarter of this year, snatching the crown away from Japan and giving Korean rivals something to think about.
Data from the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) reveals that China exported 994,000 vehicles in Q1, consisting of 826,000 passenger cars and 168,000 commercial vehicles. By comparison, Japan exported 954,000 vehicles through the first three months of 2023.
The Korea Times notes that China has started to export more expensive vehicles in recent years, making its vehicles more appealing in wealthier countries across Europe, as well as the likes of the United Kingdom and Australia. Indeed, the average export price per Chinese car hit $16,400 in 2022, a significant 27% rise from the $12,900 in 2018. It is possible the average price will exceed $20,000 this year.
Read: China Overtakes Japan As World’s Biggest Exporter Of Automobiles
“Last year, China became the second-largest exporter and this year, in April, it became the largest,” Lee Hang-koo from the Korea Automotive Technology Institute said. “Although China will continue to grow its domestic market, ultimately, to solve the supply and demand issue, it has no choice but to expand into the export market as the local market is already saturated. That’s why they made this declaration and embarked on an export drive.”
It’s not just vehicles from Chinese carmakers that have contributed to the greater export numbers. Foreign-owned firms like Tesla, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz also build cars in China for global markets. In fact, Tesla exported 270,000 vehicles from China last year, ranking it as the third largest car exporter in the country.
Lee Hang-koo believes that the proliferation of new cars from China will challenge Hyundai.
“Hyundai focused on emerging markets and experienced growth but recently the Chinese market fell through,” he said. “The U.S. market is doing well, however, we are already slightly falling behind in the European market. China continues to push both electric and internal combustion engine vehicles out into the export market, leaving Korean companies at a disadvantage. Hyundai has the Genesis brand, which is a luxury car brand, but in the end, the company needs to compete with both internal combustion engine vehicles and EVs in the mid-to-low price range.”