In a bold move to disrupt the automotive industry’s dominance by European, America, Japanese, and Korean giants, Chinese car brands are aggressively expanding overseas, unleashing their decades-long influence and expertise onto new territories. While gasoline cars still dominate exports, the tides are turning rapidly. NEVs accounted for a staggering 25% of Chinese auto exports 1Q23, establishing them as the focal point for future global expansion, according to TrendForce's report "An Analysis of the Overseas Expansion of Chinese Car Brands".
TrendForce observes that China’s early and comprehensive development of its NEV industry, combined with an unrivaled supply chain and abundant production capabilities bestows the industry with a formidable advantage. Moreover, Chinese battery manufacturers have harnessed the power of cost-effective LFP technology and secured access to lithium resources worldwide, ensuring optimal cost control and component stability for Chinese automakers venturing abroad.
Western Europe, a stronghold of international automotive players, is firmly in the sights of China’s NEV expansion, especially given its clear timetable for phasing out fossil-fueled vehicles. As Western Europe grapples with soaring inflation, Chinese NEVs, renowned for their affordability and intelligence, perfectly cater to the market’s demands. Meanwhile, Southeast Asia, an emerging market with low NEV penetration, presents another enticing opportunity. Among Southeast Asian nations, the strategic focus is on Thailand—a beacon of growth.
TrendForce predicts the market share of Chinese car brands in Western Europe’s NEV market is projected to surge from 6% in 2022 to an impressive 9% by 2023, led by SAIC Motor’s flagship brand, MG. In Southeast Asia, despite the relatively low NEV numbers (in the tens of thousands), Chinese brands currently reign supreme owing to their early inroads into the region. The 2023 forecast shows Chinese automakers commanding an impressive 63% market share in Southeast Asia’s NEV market, posing a significant challenge to the long-standing dominance of Japanese automakers in the region.
Yet, venturing into a new market demands substantial investments. Establishing showcase centers, after-sales service systems, and charging infrastructure, as well as complying with local regulations all come at a cost. The key to Chinese car brands achieving success on the global stage lies in their ability to maintain a competitive edge while shouldering these additional expenses.
*Note: NEVs include battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).
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