In May, China’s shipments of cars rebounded with electric vehicle (EV) exports more than doubling, as gradually Covid-19 lockdowns ended.
Passenger cars worth US$2.8 billion in total were exported, the fourth-highest monthly total in the past few years.
Car manufacturers in China shipped US$1.2 billion (S$1.67 billion) worth of electric passenger vehicles, up 122 per cent from a year earlier and almost triple the level in April, when car factories in Changchun and Shanghai were shuttered or barely open.
With domestic sales falling for 11 of the past 12 months, car companies in China have boosted their sales overseas, with exports in just the first five months of this year exceeding the whole of 2020.
China’s current excess EV production capacity and low domestic sales mean it will continue to be a significant exporter in the medium term, according to Dr Stephen Dyer, managing director at Shanghai-based consultancy AlixPartners.
The biggest market is Europe, which took nearly half of shipments in May and about three-quarters of electric car exports, with much of the rest going to Asia.
China made up almost 60 per cent of global exports of electric vehicles last year and the trend continues this year, although Tesla’s new factory in Europe may slow exports from China, he said.
Tesla shipped more than 22,000 cars overseas last month, after exporting only 60 in March and none in April, when it halted assembly due to the lockdown in Shanghai.
“The production resumption in Shanghai has made a great contribution to car exports,” Mr Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of China’s Passenger Car Association, said in a briefing earlier this month. Electric vehicle exports were 21 per cent of total shipments, he said, underpinned by the recovery of major automakers including Tesla and SAIC Corp, which are both based in Shanghai.
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