Chinese Auto Exports Dropped Below 1 Million in 2013

In contrast with soaring domestic demand, oversea orders for China-made vehicles fell in 2013, thwarting the country’s effort to become a major auto exporter. After surpassing 1 million in 2012, shipments to buyers abroad fell 7.5% last year to 977,300 units, data from CAAM show. Automakers exported a total of 596,300 passenger cars, 9.8% less than a year ago, and 381,000 commercial vehicles, down 3.5%.

CAAM has yet to reveal numbers for specific products, but says overseas demand decreased in two major sectors, sedans and trucks, while rising for SUVs, MPVs, and buses.

The result came amid news China became the largest trader and sold most vehicles among all countries in 2013, and is, for that reason, especially disappointing and worrisome. It reflects continued weakness of native carmakers. While managing to remain profitable and even increase sales as overall demand jumped, they are losing to foreign brands–abroad and in China. Chery, for years the largest Chinese auto exporter, saw shipments overseas fall 28.23% in 2013. Within China, native players’ share of the passenger car market went down to 40.3% from 41.9% in 2012. Several Sino-foreign joint ventures have also been working on increasing sales overseas, notably Shanghai-GM, SGMW, and Dongfeng-PSA, but the volume they posted in this regard remained very low.

In the first eleven months of 2013, sales of China-made autos in the top-ten overseas markets are:

1. Algeria, 112,100

2. Russia, 84,100

3. Chile, 71,600

4. Iran, 50,200

5. Peru, 37,300

6. Columbia, 34,500

7. Egypt, 32,200

8. Iraq, 28,700

9. Uruguay, 28,500

10. Ukraine, 27,200