China’s car exports topped 1 million for the first time image

China’s vehicle exports exceeded 1 million units for the first time last year.

According to the latest stats from China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), the country shipped overseas a total of 1,056,100 vehicles in 2012, up 29.7 percent versus 2011.

Although the year-on-year growth slowed to 30 percent from 50 percent in 2011, the rate is still much higher than the 4.3 percent increase for the domestic market. Passenger cars accounted for 45 percent of the exports, while trucks accounted for 27.9 percent, CAAM said.

The figures mean that Chinese vehicle exports have increased by an yearly average of 46.3 percent since 2001, when only 19,000 units were exported. China’s top exporters last year were Chery Automobile and Zhejiang Geely, both posting exports of over 100,000 units. Great Wall Motors, SAIC Motor and Chongqing Lifan followed.

According to analysts, the slowing market at home had forced many Chinese carmakers to look abroad. Chery said it expects its overseas sales to exceed 200,000 units in 2012. During the first 10 months of last year, the company had exported more than 164,000 vehicles to more than 80 countries. Geely exported 100,300 units overseas during the year, including 11,000 units in December alone.