Strong demand for new cars in Russia has pushed China past Japan into first spot as the world’s largest exporter of new cars.

According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, as reported by Nikkei Asia, exports from China jumped 58 per cent in the first quarter of 2023 to 1.07 million cars.

That’s in contrast to the 950,000 vehicles exported from Japan during the same period, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Nikkei reports Russia was the top destination for Chinese exports, while Australia was among the top three destinations for hybrid and electric cars alongside Belgium and Thailand.

According to the report, the exit of Western carmakers from Russia following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine created a vacuum which has been filled by Chinese brands – led by Chery and GWM.

China is the third-largest importer of vehicles to Australia behind Japan and Thailand, according to VFACTS data.

MG is the biggest Chinese brand in Australia, having delivered 15,848 vehicles to date in 2023. It doesn’t sell cars in Russia, however. It’s followed by GWM (10,410 deliveries across its Haval and GWM ranges), and LDV (6466).

Recent arrivals to our market include BYD (3216 delivers to date in 2023) and Chery (425).

Vehicles made in China for Australia are sold by BMW, Volvo and Polestar, and Tesla locally.

Scott Collie

Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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