China surpassed Japan to become the world's largest exporter of vehicles last year, as per the data released by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) on Wednesday.
Large investments in electric vehicles, an area where Japanese companies have been more cautious, have been a major factor in the recent boom in the Chinese auto industry, according to AFP.
According to JAMA data, 4.42 million automobiles were shipped from Japan in 2023.
China, on the other hand, exported 4.91 million automobiles last month, according to figures from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
With one in three of them being totally electric, China's customs office estimated the number to be even higher at 5.22 million, a staggering 57% increase from the previous year.
Although China was already exporting more cars per month than Japan, the figures released on Wednesday verified that it was also the leader for an entire year.
In contrast to their Chinese competitors, Japanese manufacturers, such as Toyota, which was reaffirmed on Tuesday as the largest company in the world based on unit sales, also produce enormous quantities of cars abroad.
A total of 7.84 million vehicles, excluding motorbikes, were produced in Japan in 2022; meanwhile, about 17 million vehicles were produced abroad.
Japanese automakers have long placed their money on hybrid vehicles, which mix internal combustion engines and battery power, as opposed to purely electric models. The Toyota Prius is one example of a hybrid vehicle that they pioneered.
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