Vehicle Manufacturers Being Forced to Reallocate Overseas Market

12 Jan 2014

"It's worth noticing the unexpected declines in vehicle exports in the first half year of 2013,” Vice Chairman of CAAM Dong Yang says.

The export of Chinese vehicles which grew very fast last year presents a declining trend in the first half of 2013.

According to statistics of CAAM released in July, a total of 486,800 vehicles are exported in the first half year,

down by 0.6% year on year. The export of passenger vehicle is 294,300 units, up by 2.3% year on year; and the

commercial vehicle 192,500 units, down by 4.8% year on year.

Currently, many Chinese manufacturers are busy with laying out overseas market. When Chinese vehicle market

enters into a "micro growth" stage squeezed by joint ventures and imports, the "going-out" strategy is

regarded as a life straw to drive sales and offset insufficient growth in Chinese market. The overseas market, however, is in a downturn; therefore, those companies having international business may confront risks led by their expansion. Exports in June drop by 2.3%

As a matter of fact, since the beginning of the year, exports of vehicles have been seeing a declining growth till

the first negative growth in May. CAAM statistics show that in May, 86,400 vehicles are exported, down by 3.4% over last month and down by 16.1% year on year. From Jan. to May, a total of 402,300 units are exported with a growth rate lower than that in Chinese domestic market.

June proceeds with the declining trend. A total of 84,400 vehicles is exported in June, 2.3% lower than last month.

Both passenger car and commercial vehicle suffer declines. South America, Middle East and Russia are major exporters of Chinese vehicles, and since this year, the exports in above areas have been declining. Statistics by CAAM show that Iraq, Venezuela, Iran, Vietnam and Turkey are top five countries seeing much decrease in importing Chinese vehicles.

Chinese vehicle manufacturers have sufficient reason to believe the great potential of overseas market based on the robust increase of exports in 2012. In 2012, a total of 1.056 million units are exported, 5.5% in total sales, up by 29.7%. Top five exporting companies are Chery, Geely, Great Wall, SAIC and Lifan. Chery and Geely even breaks

through100,000 units.

In 2013 by contrast, Chery suffers a largest decrease. In the first half year, it only exports 69,600 complete vehicles,

declining by approximate 25%, and its exports to Brazil is sharply down by 72.5%. Only a few companies enjoy

growth,like Geely, Lifan, JAC and Changan. Transform to brand building from sales top strategy Despite the export volume reduces, news regarding Chinese vehicle manufacturers exploring overseas market come one after another. Following steps of private companies like Chery, Geely and Changan, some state-owned companies

pour into international market in succession.

Along with this trend, problems are exposed to the public. Besides the deteriorating vehicle trade environment, the weak core competitiveness of products and brands and insufficient knowledge about the foreign market are main barriers for the development of Chinese vehicle manufacturers in overseas market.

It is too early to know whether to have a turning point in a short term for exporting Chinese vehicles. But it is

confirmed that Chinese brands, forced by the depressed overseas market, have to end the “sales top strategy”, and march towards the strategy of building brand image and improving service.