From a global point of view, auto powers are often big auto exporters, and this is the only way for my country to become an auto power. Since the beginning of this year, the volume and price of my country’s auto exports have risen. The latest data just released in May shows that my country’s auto exports, especially the exports of new energy vehicles, have continued their high growth momentum. In recent years, the international competitiveness of my country’s new energy vehicles has been continuously improved, and they are favored by overseas consumers. Car companies are also actively seizing opportunities to vigorously expand overseas markets. Why does my country’s new energy vehicle export momentum continue to be strong? What changes have car companies experienced in “going overseas”? How to deal with the storm in the international market?
Recently, there have been a lot of topics about automobile export. It is no longer an isolated phenomenon for domestically produced automobiles, especially new energy vehicles, to go overseas. With my country’s automobile production and sales ranking first in the world for 14 consecutive years, and new energy vehicle production and sales topping the world for 8 consecutive years, Chinese brands rely on new energy vehicles to “change lanes and overtake” with rich product categories and excellent product quality. Widely recognized by the market, the market share has continuously achieved breakthroughs, and the influence has continued to increase, and it has accelerated the “going out” of Chinese automobiles, especially new energy vehicles.
Data from the General Administration of Customs compiled by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers shows that in 2021, China’s total automobile exports will exceed 2 million for the first time, reaching 2.015 million, surpassing South Korea and ranking behind Japan and Germany; among them, 310,000 new energy vehicles will be exported , a year-on-year increase of 3 times. In 2022, China’s auto exports will reach 3.11 million units, a year-on-year increase of 54.4%, surpassing Germany to become the world‘s second largest auto exporter; the export volume of new energy vehicles will climb to 679,000 units, a year-on-year increase of 1.2 times. Entering 2023, my country’s auto exports will continue their high growth momentum. In the first quarter, auto exports increased by 70.6% year-on-year to 994,000 units, successfully surpassing Japan’s 954,000 units; new energy vehicle exports also reached 248,000 units, a year-on-year increase of 1.1 times. In the first five months, my country’s auto exports reached 1.758 million, a year-on-year increase of 81.5%; new energy vehicle exports were 457,000, a year-on-year increase of 1.6 times; automobile exports reached 266.78 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 124.1%.
The Passenger Car Market Information Association predicts that the scale of my country’s auto exports will reach 4 million this year. In this regard, some foreign media believe that China is expected to surpass Japan this year and become the world‘s largest automobile exporter.
Stand more confidently on the world stage
“my country’s automobile and new energy vehicle exports have achieved explosive growth, which shows that China’s automobile industry has undergone some fundamental changes from quantitative to qualitative.” Xu Haidong, deputy chief engineer and director of the industry research department of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said, “China’s automobile market is developing rapidly. It has become a unique single market with different development cycles and characteristics, and Chinese brands have begun to enter a new stage.”
Wang Du, assistant to the president of the China Automobile Dealers Association, also believes that the export of Chinese brand automobiles has ushered in a period of opportunities for new energy development. “In terms of fuel vehicles, compared with developed countries, our product technology is still in a backward state, while our new energy technology is already in a relatively advanced state. In addition, the current resources in Europe and other markets are relatively tight, and there is a large demand for automotive products. The export of energy vehicles provides a large space.”
The relevant person in charge of BYD Auto said, “In the era of fuel vehicles, overseas auto brands occupied a dominant position in the high-end market, and the arrival of the era of new energy vehicles is gradually breaking down the existing technical barriers. New energy vehicles have brought China’s auto industry Unprecedented opportunities allow Chinese auto brands to stand on the world stage more confidently.”
Opportunity awaits those who are prepared. “Chinese new energy auto companies have seized the important opportunity of green development and low-carbon transformation of the global auto industry, and quickly filled the vacancy in the popular demand of foreign users for new energy vehicles.” Wang Du said.
In Xu Haidong’s view, behind these fundamental changes is the substantial improvement in the competitiveness of Chinese brand products, which have fallen behind joint ventures in terms of appearance design, product quality control system, supply chain quality and efficiency management, and service system development and innovation. not big. “After more than 40 years of joint ventures and cooperation, Chinese auto companies have established a complete automotive supply chain industry system.”
More importantly, after nearly 10 years of hard work, my country’s new energy vehicles already have a certain first-mover advantage. Under the guidance of national policies, China’s new energy vehicle products have developed rapidly and iteratively. The domestic new energy three-electric (battery, motor, electronic control) supply chain is efficient and complete, and the charging infrastructure is developing rapidly. There are already more than a dozen well-known new energy vehicles. Manufacturers, hundreds of new energy vehicle products. In particular, some foreign-funded and joint-venture car companies also use China as a manufacturing base in the manufacture of new energy vehicles and export them to the world. Taking Tesla as an example, the Model 3 and Model Y smart electric vehicles produced by its Shanghai Gigafactory relying on China’s complete supply chain system and “China’s smart manufacturing” capabilities are sold to Europe, Asia-Pacific and other countries and regions. Last year, the factory delivered a total of over 710,000 complete vehicles, of which over 270,000 were exported, accounting for nearly 40%.
In addition, overseas direct investment of Chinese brands is also playing a role, accumulating rich experience for automobile export. For example, Great Wall’s investment and construction of factories in Russia, Thailand, Brazil and other countries and regions, and Geely’s direct investment in Malaysia’s Proton Motors all represent firm confidence in the international development of Chinese brands.
“The market share of Chinese auto brands in the domestic competition has gradually increased, reaching 49.9% at the end of last year, and increased to 53% from January to April this year.” Xu Haidong said, “Now, Chinese brands are accelerating the development of overseas markets. The construction of the ‘dual cycle’ pattern of the auto industry has played a positive role.”
There are more ways to “go out”
As a pillar industry of the national economy, the export scale of automobiles continues to increase. It can not only help the country improve its international competitiveness, but also promote the upgrading of the automobile industry structure, promote technological innovation and brand building, and help the high-quality development of the industry. Especially under the general trend of intelligence and electrification, Chinese brands will further enhance their voice and dominance in the global market by virtue of their advantages in new energy technologies.
Since becoming the first car company in the world to announce the end of sales of fuel vehicles in April last year, BYD has not only shown a leading trend in the domestic market, but has also become a “sweet pastry” in the global new energy vehicle market. In 2022, BYD’s annual cumulative sales will reach 1.8685 million vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 152.5%. While ranking first in China’s new energy vehicle sales for ten consecutive years, it has surpassed Tesla to successfully win the global new energy vehicle sales champion.
At the same time, in terms of overseas market layout, BYD has gradually developed from the initial battery and electronic business “going overseas”, as well as commercial vehicles dominated by new energy buses and buses, to passenger vehicles as the core product. A new round of “going to sea”. In 2021, BYD announced that it will cooperate with Norwegian car dealers to bring Tang EV into the Norwegian market. In October last year, BYD ATTO 3 set off a “crash buying wave” after its launch in the Thai market, and received orders for 10,305 vehicles in just 42 days. Since the beginning of this year, BYD has been the sales champion of new energy vehicles in Thailand for four consecutive months. At present, BYD’s new energy vehicles have served more than 4.1 million car owners around the world, and its pure electric buses have traveled to more than 70 countries and regions, accumulating a certain product reputation, brand awareness and reputation.
Great Wall Motor also opened the prelude to “going to sea” with the Pickup Cara as early as 1997. In the face of the current new wave of smart electronics, Great Wall’s current exports are mainly intelligent and new energy products, including global models of its Euler, Wei brand, Haval and other brands, which have been exported to more than 170 countries and regions , more than 700 overseas sales channels, the sales area covers Russia, Thailand, Brazil, Australia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Chile, Ecuador and the core city business districts of many countries and regions in Europe, and in Australia, South Africa, the Middle East and other key cities The market has established a central library of overseas accessories.
“Great Wall Motors is the first Chinese auto company to realize the deployment of three full-process vehicle production bases overseas, and it is also the first Chinese auto company to establish a new energy vehicle production base overseas.” The relevant person in charge of Great Wall Motors said, “This year 1 From April to April, the overseas sales of Great Wall Motors reached 73,789 vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 99.13%. The main increase is in the European and ASEAN markets. Because of the huge demand gap, the market responded enthusiastically.”
In addition to exporting products and directly building factories overseas, the ways for Chinese brands to “go global” are becoming more and more diverse. With 20 years of experience in “going overseas”, Geely Automobile has entered a new stage of exporting the entire industrial chain of “products, technology, talents, and management” from the global supply chain system, product export, and technology. market and two types of resources, and enhance global resource allocation and integration capabilities. Data show that from January to April this year, Geely Automobile Group exported 75,694 vehicles, a year-on-year increase of over 54.4%.
In 2022, Geely Automobile will export its technology to developed countries in the automobile industry for the first time. By taking a stake in Renault Korea Motors, it jointly develops, manufactures and supplies hybrid powertrain and fuel powertrain technologies; authorizes pure electric SEA vast architecture technology to Polish electric vehicle manufacturer EMP. In addition, the cooperation between Geely and the Malaysian car brand Proton has entered the seventh year. Geely has exported a variety of products and engine technologies and helped it start the new energy transformation.
GAC Group chose to continue to make efforts in scientific research and innovation to accelerate its transformation into a technology-based enterprise. With the opening of GAC European R&D Center and GAC Milan Forward-looking Design Center in November last year, GAC Group has established a GAC Research Institute as the core, GAC American R&D Center, GAC European R&D Center, and GAC Shanghai Forward-looking Design Studio. GAC’s global R&D network; GAC’s design team has formed a global design innovation system of “three countries and four places” in Milan, Los Angeles, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
At present, GAC Group mainly focuses on the export of complete vehicles. Its products cover SUVs, sedans, MPVs and other models, covering 30 countries and regions in the five major sectors of the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. It has initially established a sales and service system covering the world. . As an important part of GAC’s “Trillion GAC 1578 Development Outline”, GAC will challenge the goal of exporting 500,000 vehicles in overseas markets in 2030.
In terms of commercial vehicles, Beiqi Foton has ranked first in overseas export sales of commercial vehicles in China for 12 consecutive years, with a cumulative export of nearly 800,000 vehicles. In 2022, Beiqi Foton will export 88,000 vehicles, achieving both volume and price increases, product strength enhancement, and the improvement of localized KD production and marketing networks. Under the global “decarbonization” trend, Beiqi Foton has been accelerating the “going out” of new energy products in recent years. Its pure electric light trucks, VANs, buses and other new energy products have passed the WVTA EU vehicle type certification, and are fully “driving in” “Italy, Poland, Spain and other European countries and regions.
There are scenery and wind and waves
There are scenery and wind and waves on the way “going to sea”. While China’s auto export has achieved leapfrog development, it is also facing some pressure.
“From the perspective of the international political and economic situation, we are worried that some countries will enforce the decoupling of supply chains. This anti-globalization approach will affect Chinese brands’ development of international markets.” Xu Haidong said, “In addition, China’s auto product exports also face various markets. Risks such as restrictions and additional tariffs.” Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the Passenger Car Market Information Association, also believes that at present, electrification has become a recognized trend in the development of global automobiles, and China has a great advantage in this area, which is also a challenge to traditional Dominant brands in the automotive sector pose a threat.
In addition to the international environment, there is still room for improvement in the international development capabilities of Chinese brands. Xu Haidong believes that domestic brands still have shortcomings in terms of key core technologies and key components. The capacity building of the internationalization system of enterprises is still in its infancy, such as international shipping support capabilities, localized financial service capabilities, overseas collaborative development capabilities of the supply chain, overseas after-sales service, second-hand car rental scrap recycling and other system capabilities are still in the process of learning and practicing and build process. The overseas direct investment model is still in its infancy, and there is not enough experience in summarizing its own effective management model and establishing an internationally accepted corporate culture.
“In addition, from the perspective of market competition, the current scale of China’s auto exports has reached a relatively high level, the supply of vehicles in Europe, America, Japan, and South Korea is rebounding sharply, and the international auto supply environment is improving. In addition, the global auto market is facing downward pressure from the international economy, etc. , and also bring some pressure on China’s auto exports.” Wang Du said.
To seize the opportunity, one must have the courage to accept the challenge. In the process of “going global”, the most important thing for car companies is to continuously improve the core competitiveness of products, develop products that meet the needs of foreign consumers, and at the same time continue to strengthen the internationalization level of brand building.
“Chinese car companies need to improve their technical level and ensure that their product technology meets local standards, especially in aspects such as testing and environmental protection.” Wang Du reminded, “We should also make corresponding efforts in sales and maintenance, whether it is charging facilities or After-sales maintenance, etc., an effective guarantee mechanism must be established to ensure consumer satisfaction with the car and prevent unfinished services, so as to build the reputation and credibility of China’s new energy vehicle exports.”
In what direction should car companies work to build a world-class car brand? Xu Haidong believes that enterprises should establish and improve a localized marketing system, implement differentiated competition, highlight their own product characteristics, and create localized after-sales service capabilities oriented towards improving customer satisfaction in export destinations. It is necessary to establish localized research and development capabilities, timely collect the needs of export consumers, understand their culture, consumption habits, usage habits and other demand information, and improve and improve products in a timely manner. At the same time, enterprises must have the ability to export their own effective management models, such as quality control and supply chain management models, efficient production methods, etc. In particular, they must summarize the company’s management culture and values, and combine these effective management models with local characteristics. Output; and spread the value system behind the corporate brand through a variety of publicity methods, tell a good brand story, and actively fulfill corporate social responsibilities. In addition, enterprises must have the ability to guarantee capital for international development and the ability to provide global human resources. “Overseas brand building and direct investment are long-term strategic investments, and enterprises must have long-term strategic determination.” Xu Haidong said.
To promote China’s auto export to a new level, Wang Du suggested that the country also needs to support relevant policies. First of all, strengthen trade agreements with various countries, and properly tilt the content of auto exports. Secondly, increase the financial support for automobile export, support qualified automobile manufacturers or financial institutions to invest and set up automobile finance companies abroad in accordance with international rules, actively play the role of export credit insurance, and further increase the risk under the premise of controllable risks. Reduce the time limit for underwriting approval, and encourage guidance funds to increase investment in overseas investment projects for automobiles. Thirdly, speed up the construction of the automobile export service platform. Support qualified enterprises to build a public platform for international marketing services in the automotive industry, and promote domestic enterprises to build warehousing, logistics, sales, and after-sales service systems for automotive products overseas, especially in countries and regions along the “Belt and Road” to enhance overall competitiveness. (China Economic Net reporter Guo Tao, Jiang Zhiwen, Chen Mengyu, Guo Yue, Zhang Yi)