Chinese Automakers’ Exports Are on the Rise This Year

The domestic market is a little more turbulent

Parked cars
Chinese automakers had literal ups and downs in April.
Getty Images

When it comes to automotive trend forecasting, one of the stories of the year thus far is the growth of China’s auto industry. That growth has, among other elements, prompted the nation to substantially increase its cargo fleet. It’s also led U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown to call for an all-out ban on the sale of Chinese-made vehicles in the country, invoking both economic and security reasons as he did so.

To get a better sense of how much Chinese exports have been growing, a recent Reuters analysis (via Autoblog) offers more details. The export of Chinese cars rose in both March and April by 39% and 38% over the corresponding months in 2023. In terms of April’s exports, that meant that 417,000 vehicles headed overseas.

That said, the numbers paint a more complex picture of the Chinese automotive industry than that suggests. While exports have been dramatically on the rise, domestic auto sales dropped slightly — with a 5.8% drop in April compared to April 2023. When compared to the preceding month, the drop looks a bit more precipitous: April’s domestic vehicle sales were down 9.6% drop from March.

China’s EV Boom Has Increased Demand for Cargo Ships
The nation is expected to more than double the size of its fleet

Sales of both hybrids and electric vehicles were also up in April, Reuters reports — and it’s worth noting that this data points out that neighborhood electric vehicles (or NEVs) made up 43.5% of overall sales. That’s one big area where the U.S. and Chinese domestic automotive markets diverge — and it’ll mark revisiting in the months and years to come.

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