Popularity of Chinese vehicles increases around the globe

April 25, 2023

By LI FUSHENG (China Daily) 08:25, February 13, 2023




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Vehicles at Taicang Port in Jiangsu province are ready to be exported to Europe in January. [PHOTO by JI HAIXIN/FOR CHINA DAILY]


Growing international demand for local electric car models sees export numbers surge

Chinese carmakers are seeing their popularity rise in overseas markets, which may push the country's vehicle exports to a new high this year following a surge in 2022.

Last year, carmakers exported 3.11 million vehicles, up 54.4 percent year-on-year, ranking China second only to Japan, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

This momentum has continued into 2023. Data from Great Wall Motors, China's largest SUV and pickup truck maker, revealed on Wednesday that it had sold 15,998 vehicles overseas in January, up 25.47 percent year-on-year. They accounted for more than a quarter of its total deliveries in the month.

The carmaker said it will speed up its global campaign, with Europe and Southeast Asia as its newly emerging markets.

Narong Sritalayon, a sales executive of Great Wall Motors Thailand, said the carmaker is planning to launch four new energy vehicle models in the country in 2023.

Last year, it sold 173,180 vehicles in overseas markets, up 21.28 percent year-on-year. The carmaker said its accumulative overseas sales have exceeded 1 million units.

Warren Buffet-backed BYD exported 10,409 vehicles last month, up 57.8 percent year-on-year. Its Atto 3 SUV seized the lion's share of almost 9,000 units, said the carmaker.

BYD launched three models in September 2022 in Europe, with the Atto 3 being one of them. About a month later, car rental company Sixt inked a deal with BYD to purchase 100,000 vehicles over six years.

Voyah, a premium NEV arm of State-owned Dongfeng Motor, said it started deliveries of its SUVs to Norway, its first overseas market, in January. In the same month, it made inroads into Israel, with deliveries expected to start in March.

Voyah said it will launch its models in Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark this year. Those European countries are also the first markets for other Chinese brands including Xpeng and Nio.

China FAW Group's Hongqi marque, which is available in western Europe, expects its overseas sales to make up more than 10 percent of its total sales in 2025, and the figure will rise to 25 percent in 2030.

Fu Yuwu, honorary president of the China Society of Automotive Engineers, said, "Their sales may not be big in Europe now, but their very presence there is proof of their competitive edge."

Chinese NEV carmakers are wowing overseas customers with models that "surpass their wildest dreams", which may see their positions rise on the global stage, according to a McKinsey report released in late 2022.

China's commercial NEVs are popular in overseas markets as well. In December 2022, Farizon Auto, an arm of Geely, received an order for 1,000 SuperVANs from Admiral Mobility in the United Arab Emirates. It was the largest order for electric commercial vehicles in the Persian Gulf.

The two companies also said they would jointly bring a total of 5,000 new energy commercial vehicles to the Gulf region in three years.

Farizon said it will launch its best-selling light truck Xingzhi H9E in Israel this year and explore other major international markets.

The vehicle maker is also working on the development of right-hand drive models to explore a wider global market, aiming to become China's No 1 exporter of commercial NEVs by 2027.

It said the Xingzhi H9E will enter right-hand drive markets in the second half of this year.

SAIC Maxus, whose products are available in 73 countries and regions, said it is launching several NEVs in its major overseas markets this year, including Europe, the Middle East and South America.

It already has electric models in international markets. Among others, the EV 30 and the EV 90 vans were best-sellers in their respective segments in Spain and Norway in 2022.

Zhang Yongwei, vice-president of China EV 100, an automotive think tank, said NEV exports are expected to reach 800,000 units this year, up from 679,000 vehicles in 2022.

Earlier this year, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers estimated that exports from China may grow at least 20 percent year-on-year to 3.73 million units.