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Chinese Automakers Surpass U.S. Counterparts In Global Sales For First Time

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New energy vehicles for export at Lianyungang Port, Jiangsu Province, China, on April 25, 2024.  | Getty Images

Chinese automakers have outpaced their U.S. rivals in vehicle sales for the first time, driven by solid performances from brands like BYD and rising demand in emerging markets.

According to a report by Jato Dynamics, Chinese brands sold 13.4 million vehicles in 2023, surpassing the 11.9 million units sold by American companies. Japanese brands led the market with 23.59 million sales.

CNBC reports that China’s automotive sales growth was particularly notable, increasing by 23% compared to the previous year, while the U.S. saw a 9% rise.

“Negligence from legacy automakers, which has resulted in consistently high car prices, has inadvertently driven consumers toward more affordable Chinese alternatives,” explained Jato senior analyst Felipe Munoz.

Chinese car makers have been expanding globally, spurred by an intense electric vehicle (EV) price war at home that has squeezed profit margins. These brands have gained significant market share in regions such as the Middle East, Eurasia, and Africa and have also made inroads in developed markets like Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

“Over 17.5 million new cars were sold in emerging economies in 2023. That is more than the total sales in the U.S. or Europe during the year,” noted Munoz.

This expansion came despite increased trade tensions between China and the West, high interest rates, and elevated vehicle prices.

In response to the growing dominance of Chinese EVs, the European Union has raised tariffs on Chinese imports to 38%, while the U.S. has quadrupled tariffs to 100%. Turkey has also imposed additional tariffs, signalling that more emerging markets might follow suit.

The industry anticipates further trade barriers in 2024, which could push Chinese manufacturers to focus even more on emerging markets.

Read more: G7 Leaders Pledge $50 Billion Loan To Ukraine From Frozen Russian Assets

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