China - Country Commercial Guide
Automotive Industry

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-01-04

Recreational Vehicles and Motorcycles Sector

China continues to be the world’s largest vehicle market by both annual sales and manufacturing output, with domestic production expected to reach 35 million vehicles by 2025. Based on data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, over 25 million vehicles were sold in 2020, including 19.99 million passenger vehicles, down 6.5% from 2019. Commercial vehicle sales reached 5.23 million units, an increase of 20% from 2019.

U.S.-made vehicles exported to China have faced high tariff barriers in recent years. However, after China suspended its retaliatory tariffs on U.S. automobiles in late 2019, they now generally face the same 15% tariff China applies to most major trading partners. Vehicles (HS codes 8703 and 8704) were included in the U.S.-China Phase One Trade Agreement, opening potential opportunities for U.S. exporters.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese government has taken steps to buttress automobile consumption. These steps include postponing the implementation of the China Six Emission Standard to January 2021,  providing fiscal and taxation support, speeding up the elimination of obsolete diesel trucks, and optimizing secondhand vehicle trading channels.

From 2017 to 2020, China’s imports of motor vehicles decreased from 1,246,800 to 927,632 units, while vehicle imports from the United States decreased from 274,241 to 145,761 units.

China Automobile Import Data (in units): 2017 - 2020
China Automobile Import Data (in units): 2017 - 2020

Source: Ministry of Industry and Information Technology

Recreational Vehicles (RVs)

China’s RV market has undergone significant changes over the past several years, including a national focus on developing tourism, campgrounds, and the RV industry. With a growing demand for RVs and a shift in consumers’ travel preferences, tourism experts in China anticipate a surge in RV-related business in the coming years. U.S. Department of Commerce data shows exports of U.S.-made RVs to China in 2020 were valued at $912,000, a significant decline from 2019. U.S.-made RVs enjoy a good reputation for performance and comfort in China. So, this decline is primarily attributable to bilateral trade tensions and the related uncertainty of tariff rates.

According to the “China Self-Driving, Caravan and Camping Tourism Development Report 2020-2021”, over 77.8% of Chinese domestic tourists were self-driving tourists, with a year-on-year growth rate of 14%. RV leasing and rental markets also report growth as people who cannot afford an RV or are not frequent travelers are renting RVs instead. Additionally, motorhomes were also used for emergency relief efforts during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Challenges for this subsector include an RV travel culture that is not fully developed, limited infrastructure (e.g., lack of RV parks and associated amenities), retaliatory tariff, and increasing competition from domestic and other foreign RV manufacturers.

Trade Events

  • 2022 Beijing Auto Show
  • All in Caravanning-Beijing
  • China Commercial Vehicle Show-Wuhan