Affected by Sino-U.S. Trade friction and the decline of the Iranian market, China’s auto exports fell slightly. According to the data released by the China Automobile Industry Association, 1.024 million vehicles were exported in 2019, a year-on-year decrease of 1.6%. Among them, 725,000 were passenger cars, down 4.3% year-on-year; 299,000 were commercial vehicles, up 5.7% year-on-year.
“The export of the auto industry in 2019 is greatly affected by changes in the US market and policies.” Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the China Federation of Automobile Industry, said that the markets with the fastest growth in auto exports in 2019 are Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, and the biggest declines are Iran and Argentina. , Belgium, etc. However, car exports picked up in the fourth quarter.
It is worth noting that Iran has been an important market for Chinese brand exports for many years, and it is also the largest overseas market for independent brands such as JAC and Chery. Many car companies such as Pentium, Brilliance, BYD, Changan, Chery, Dongfeng, Geely, Haima, Harvard, JAC, Lifan, MG and Zotye have relied on local enterprises for localized production and sales. “The export market in 2019 is mainly affected by the export business of Iran and the United States. In 2018, China exported more than 100,000 vehicles in Iran. Due to the US sanctions against Iran, there will be almost no exports in 2019.” Xu Haidong, assistant secretary-general of the China Automobile Industry Association, he told reporters that due to the Sino-US trade friction, exports to the US market were also affected.
Despite the slight decline in auto exports in 2019, with the recovery in the fourth quarter, the export volume of many auto companies has continued to rise. At present, automobile companies such as SAIC, Great Wall Motors, Chery Automobile, Beijing Automotive, Changan Automobile and Geely Automobile have become the main drivers of Chinese automobile exports. SAIC Motor ‘s total vehicle exports and overseas sales in 2019 were 350,000 units, a year-on-year increase of 26%; Chery Automobile ‘s new car exports in 2019 exceeded 100,000 units; Great Wall Motor ‘s exports last year reached 65,000 units, a year-on-year increase of 38.7%.
“In order to develop independent brands, we must go global. Globalization is the only way for independent car companies to achieve sustainable profitability.” Wei Jianjun, chairman of Great Wall Motors, said in an interview with reporters.
Against the background of the domestic auto market shifting from an incremental market to a stock market, many auto companies have accelerated overseas exports. JAC plans to export 100,000 cars by 2020, Changan and Chery both plan to export more than 500,000 cars by 2025. SAIC plans to target 1 million cars in overseas markets in the next five years. In addition to export sales, some car companies have established overseas production bases and KD assembly plants overseas. Take Great Wall Motors as an example, it has built and commissioned the first wholly-owned overseas wholly-owned manufacturing plant in Tula, Russia. In addition to its KD assembly plants in Malaysia, Bulgaria, Tunisia, and Ecuador, the layout of Great Wall Motors overseas plants has been initially completed. At present, Haval and Great Wall pickup series are mainly exported to developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The WEY brand will focus on Western European and North American markets in the future. In addition, Great Wall Motor has accelerated its plans to enter the Indian market. It may acquire GM’s plant in Maharashtra in the first half of 2020 and will announce its plans to enter the Indian market.
“With the layout of auto companies in overseas markets, their production capacity will gradually be released. In the future, car exports are expected to further expand, and car exports have picked up in the fourth quarter.” Lang Xuehong, deputy secretary general of the China Automobile Dealers Association, told reporters.
After China’s car exports first broke the million mark in 2012, it has been fluctuating below one million for several years, and finally reached the level of 1 million cars again in 2018, but then fell again, which revealed that the competitiveness of the global market is still relatively lacking. The “High-quality Development Report of China’s Auto Trade (2019)” issued by the Ministry of Commerce states that China’s auto product exports still exist with auto powers such as Europe, the United States, and Japan in terms of scale and proportion, added value and profit margin, export methods, and market layout. It is mainly reflected in the small scale and low proportion of automobile exports; weak competitiveness, low value-added and profitability of export products; direct export products, and overseas local production just beginning.