On October 17, 2022, after a four-year absence, the Paris Auto Show, one of the world’s top five auto shows, returned to the public eye. Unexpectedly, the “brilliant” at this auto show is not the host French local car company, but the new energy car company from far away China.
At this Paris Auto Show, Chinese car manufacturers replaced the label of “low quality and cheap” with “high quality and high price”. For example, the European pre-sale price of BYD Yuan PLUS (ATTO 3) is 38,000 euros (about 270,000 yuan), and the price of Han and Tang is 72,000 euros (about 510,000 yuan), which is higher than the Audi Q7. The starting price in the European market is basically the same as that of the BMW X5. For another example, the Wei brand Mocha PHEV (Coffee 01) under Great Wall Motor has launched a total of 2 models this time, with a price range of 55,900 to 59,900 euros (approximately RMB 390,000 to 420,000), which can be directly comparable to the local French. Luxury car prices.
In fact, the high-profile participation of Chinese car companies at the Paris Auto Show is just a small microcosm of the acceleration of Chinese cars to go overseas. Behind this is the continuous and rapid growth of China’s automobile export volume, the gratifying figures that China has surpassed Germany to become the second largest automobile exporter after Japan for the first time, and the arrival of a new era of automobile exporting mainly marked by the improvement of system capabilities.
A historic moment that greatly changes the competitive landscape of the global manufacturing industry is coming, that is, China’s overall rise as a major auto exporter. According to statistics from the China Automobile Association and the General Administration of Customs, China will export 2.015 million vehicles in 2021, surpassing South Korea (1.52 million) for the first time and becoming second only to Japan (3.82 million) and Germany (2.3 million). China is the world’s third largest auto exporter; from January to August 2022, China’s auto export volume is 1.817 million units, surpassing Germany (1.66 million units) for the first time and becoming the world’s second largest car after Japan (2.201 million units). export country.
In just two years, the export volume of automobiles has surpassed that of South Korea and Germany, marking a major breakthrough in the international development of my country’s automobile industry. Especially in August 2022, China’s auto export volume reached 308,000 units, surpassing 300,000 units for the first time in a single month, a record high; then in September, China’s auto export volume continued to exceed the 300,000 unit mark, which means that as of In the first three quarters of this year, China’s total auto exports (2.117 million units) exceeded that of last year’s total auto exports (2.015 million units).
The first export is close at hand
Overtaking South Korea in 2021 and Germany in 2022. China is only one step away from the world’s largest auto exporter, and the gap with Japan, which ranks first, has also narrowed from 4.29 million in 2010 to the current 384,000. .
The data shows that in 2010, Japan’s automobile exports were 4.83 million, and China’s was 540,000; in 2015, Japan’s automobile exports were 4.42 million, and China’s was 750,000; in 2021, Japan’s automobile exports were 3.82 million, and China’s 2.01 million; from January to August 2022, Japan’s auto export volume was 2.201 million, and China was 1.817 million. A drop and an increase are obvious.
If it is inferred based on this development speed, in 2022, the total export volume of China and Japan will be in the range of 3 million to 3.5 million vehicles, and it is still in suspense who will win in the end; By next year, China’s total auto exports will eventually overtake Japan’s.
This view is not complacent. Even the relevant Japanese automobile research institutions have predicted that by 2023, China’s automobile exports will reach 4 million vehicles, while Japan’s total automobile exports will drop to 3 million vehicles. At that time, China will become the A veritable world’s largest auto exporter.
Some people may say that compared with the average export ratio of more than 50% in automobile powerhouses, the proportion of China’s automobile exports in total sales still needs to be improved. Taking 2021 as an example, the total sales of automobiles in China will be 26.275 million, of which 2.015 million will be exported, accounting for 7.67% of the total; the total sales of German automobiles will be 2.6221 million, of which 2.3 million will be exported. , exports accounted for 87.72%; Japan’s total car sales were 4.4483 million vehicles, of which 3.82 million were exported, accounting for 85.88% of exports.
Even in the first three quarters of this year, the proportion of China’s auto exports (2.117 million units) in total sales (19.47 million units) has risen to 10.87%, but compared with Germany and Japan, which accounted for more than 80%, it is still relatively low. big gap. But in fact, this concern need not be overly magnified.
Of course, we must also face up to the fact that at present, most Chinese automakers can only sell their cars to overseas markets by exporting, rather than building local factories and joint ventures as in Germany, Japan, South Korea and the United States. way to sell overseas. In the future, if Chinese self-owned brand car companies can build factories overseas on a large scale and participate in joint ventures and cooperation with local companies, and then occupy the global market through localized production and sales, it will be a real “automotive power”.
The wind rises from the end of Qingping, and the waves form between the waves. China’s auto overseas strategy is by no means a one-day achievement, but an achievement achieved in a protracted war. For more than 20 years, the road of Chinese cars to the sea has been full of twists and turns.
I still remember that the first passenger car exported to Europe suffered a blow in the crash test. After getting together and exporting to Russia and Brazil, it encountered “Waterloo”, and it has been unable to open up in Southeast Asia after the motorcycle market failed for a long time. The failure did not deter Chinese car companies.
In 2000, my country’s total automobile production was only 2.07 million vehicles, and the export volume was even more pitiful, only 17,000 vehicles. In contrast, Japan’s automobile export volume at that time was as high as 4.72 million vehicles, which was 278 times that of my country’s automobile exports. Even in 2002, my country’s vehicle exports only rose to 43,100 units.
In the following 2004-2008 years, China’s auto export was also a small hit, but the main force at that time was commercial vehicles, and the export areas were also mainly in Asia, Africa and Latin America. It was not until 2012 that China’s auto exports exceeded 1 million for the first time. However, it will not last long. Due to the lack of sufficient competitiveness in product quality and lack of experience in overseas markets, a large number of short-sighted behaviors such as price-for-market and vicious competition have appeared. As a result, China’s auto exports have experienced a long period of decline until 2016. year to recover.
In the five years after the recovery, due to the lack of competitive advantages in core technologies, China’s auto exports basically stagnated at the scale of one million vehicles, and did not grow explosively again until 2021. It is worth mentioning that compared with ten years ago, this round of growth has both “quantity” and “quality”. Not only has it exceeded 2 million units for the first time, but passenger cars have also become the absolute main export force. Exports are more good news.
Especially in the European market, due to the strong loyalty of consumers to car brands. Therefore, if Chinese car companies want to gain a firm foothold in the European and American markets, they must first pursue “long-termism” in concept. Whether it is R&D and supply chain construction, or product launch, service operation, and localized team building, they all need to formulate The long-term and stable “timetable” regards car going to sea as a long-distance running sport, which is carried out rhythmically, planned and targeted.
In Deloitte’s survey, almost all car companies plan to focus on major European auto markets such as Germany and France in the next 3-5 years. Among them, 75% of car companies are determined to enter the North American market. It can be seen that Chinese car companies have bolder layouts in terms of target markets, competitive strategies and model innovation in overseas markets.
New energy boosts inflection point
If it is said that last year’s auto export was high because of the accidental factors that trapped international giants and China quickly filled the position due to the epidemic; then, this year’s auto export performance is all based on strength, because of its export models, average export prices, export added value, Fundamental changes have taken place in the level of export profits, export methods and export regional distribution.
Among them, the export of new energy vehicles not only contributed a huge increment, but also reached a milestone inflection point in terms of export areas and export values. In the past year, nearly half of China’s new energy vehicle exports went to the European market, and a total of 189,000 new energy vehicles were exported to the European market, a year-on-year increase of 114%; in 2022, nearly half of the new energy vehicles licensed in Europe will be 20% are made in China.
From 12,800 in 2012 to 4,567,000 in the first three quarters of 2022, and since 2015, the production and sales have ranked first in the world for seven consecutive years. China’s new energy vehicles have reached the forefront of the world and become a real bellwether. In particular, of the 6.5 million new energy vehicles sold globally in 2021, China’s sales will account for more than half, reaching 3.521 million.
At the same time, in the first three quarters of 2022, my country exported 389,000 new energy vehicles, a year-on-year increase of more than double, which not only contributed an important increase to the entire automobile export, but also became the world’s largest exporter of new energy vehicles. 1/3 of the world. It can be seen that China’s new energy vehicles have reached the level of a powerful country in terms of domestic and foreign market size, core technologies, and product premium capabilities.
First of all, in terms of export regions, according to data from the General Administration of Customs, from January to August 2022, the top 10 countries in my country’s auto export value are the United States, Mexico, Japan, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, South Korea, Australia and Saudi Arabia are basically developed countries.
According to the data of the China Automobile Association, from January to August 2022, the top 10 countries in my country’s automobile export volume are Mexico, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Australia, the Philippines, Russia, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Thailand, half of which are developed countries.
In the top 4 countries, the export volume of automobiles has exceeded 100,000 vehicles; at the same time, Australia has become the fifth largest country in my country’s automobile exports. From January to August this year, the cumulative export volume of the region was 82,000 vehicles; In addition, the number of complete vehicles exported from my country to the UK also reached 70,000. This shows that China’s automobile exports have broken the previous situation of only exporting automobiles to Asia, Africa and Latin America, and have begun to occupy a place in some developed countries.
The European market is a typical case. According to statistics from the China Automobile Dealers Association, the proportion of my country’s automobile exports to Europe has increased from 10% in 2019 (ranking fifth) to 24% in 2021 (ranking second). Only Second to the top-ranked Asian market (33%).
Secondly, from the perspective of the average export price of automobiles, the average export price of China’s automobiles has increased from US$12,900 in 2018 to US$18,900 in 2022; in the first three quarters of 2022, my country’s auto exports amounted to US$100.2 billion, a year-on-year increase of US$100.2 billion. An increase of 24.1%.
This shows that my country’s export models have shifted from low-end cars to mid-to-high-end cars in the past, and gradually transformed into global products. In particular, the average export price of pure electric vehicles has increased significantly. In less than four years, the average export price of pure electric vehicles in my country has increased from US$2,000 in 2018 to US$25,800 in August 2022.
From output product to output system capability
In the face of the new trade environment, the original globalization mode of China’s auto industry has begun to change, gradually shifting from “exporting products” to “exporting industrial capabilities”, because those who have system capabilities can conquer the world, and only in this way can they break through the ceiling of the international market.
The data shows that in the first three quarters of 2022, SAIC has the largest export volume, with a total of 610,000 vehicles exported, accounting for about 1/3 of China’s total car exports, far exceeding other car companies; Chery’s export volume ranks second, with a total of 610,000 vehicles exported. 311,000; Dongfeng ranked third with an export volume of 171,000.
It can be seen that most of the Chinese car companies with outstanding performance in overseas markets are “long-termists” of internationalization strategies. No matter how the export situation is ups and downs and how severe the market environment is, from state-owned auto groups to private auto companies, they always insist on overseas layout and never give up, especially auto companies such as SAIC, Dongfeng, Great Wall, BYD, Chery, Geely, etc. Initially, a single product went overseas and developed to R&D, manufacturing, technology, and even services.
Take SAIC, a leading exporter, as an example. Up to now, SAIC is not only the first domestic car company with a cumulative overseas sales volume of over 3 million vehicles, but also ranks first among Chinese car companies in terms of export volume for six consecutive years. , the Middle East, ASEAN and South Asia six 50,000-level regional markets.
Behind the rapid sales growth is the process of SAIC’s export strategy changing from passive to active. Today, SAIC has not only three R&D centers in Silicon Valley, London and Tel Aviv, but also three major design centers in London, Munich and Tokyo, and has established production bases and KD factories in Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia and India.
At the same time, Chery has also built the largest overseas factory in Brazil, Great Wall has built the first overseas full-process factory of a Chinese car company in Russia, and Geely has found a new way to open up the Southeast Asian market by acquiring Malaysia’s Proton… After more than 20 years of With development, China’s auto export has changed from simply selling cars to the whole industry chain going overseas.
Especially when new energy vehicles go overseas, it is no longer as simple as vehicle sales. Because consumers in developed countries and regions such as Europe and the United States have higher requirements for various technical indicators, safety and service standards of new energy vehicles, China’s new energy vehicles While expanding the scale of overseas markets and emphasizing product price and quality, car companies must also establish a sound sales channel and after-sales service system guarantee, especially the construction and improvement of the energy-replenishing system for new energy vehicles is particularly important.
In this context, some new power car companies have begun to try to export “soft power” such as service and brand culture, such as Weilai. Recently, NIO announced in a high-profile manner that ET5, ET7 and ES73 models will enter Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, and will provide full-system services to the four countries. Compared with the direct sales of cars by traditional car companies, NIO’s service system is more complicated to go overseas, which requires car companies to have strong organizational and operational capabilities.
Miao Wei, the former minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, once pointed out that there are three criteria for measuring a strong automobile country: first, it must have world-renowned enterprises and brands with international competitiveness; occupy a certain share; thirdly, we must master the development trend of core technologies and new technologies, and support and lead the technological progress of global automotive products.
With the accumulation of a huge domestic market, the continuous improvement of core technologies and an increasingly perfect industrial chain, China has made rapid progress in the domestic and foreign auto markets. It is believed that with the continuous development of China’s economy and smart electric vehicles, the next 5-10 In 2010, China will definitely be able to produce a world-class car brand.