China Overtakes Japan as Top Auto Exporter in 2023

Chinese Exports Rose 58% in 2023, Japanese Data Shows
Japanese auto exports
Cars for export parked at a port in Kawasaki, Japan, west of Tokyo. (Koji Sasahara/Associated Press)

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TOKYO — Data from a Japanese auto industry association shows that China overtook Japan as the world’s largest vehicle exporter last year.

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association reported Japan exported 4.42 million vehicles in 2023, up 16% from a year earlier, while domestic auto sales totaled nearly 4.78 million vehicles.

According to figures released earlier by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, China exported 4.91 million vehicles last year. That was nearly 58% more than the year before. Much of the increase was driven by shipments of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Japan’s car exports totaled 4.2 million in 2022. It had held the role as top exporter since 2017.

Overall, auto sales in Japan have been mostly on the decline since 2000.

Toyota and other Japanese makers, including those making trucks and buses grouped in JAMA, have been developing EVs, but they also invest in hybrids, fuel cells and other types of powertrains.

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