China remains biggest market of Germany’s automotive industry
Volkswagen displays its ID. 3 electric model at the 2021 China International Import Expo held in Shanghai. (Photo by Hu Xuebai/For China Daily)

China remained the most important customer of Germany’s automotive industry in 2021, the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) said on Thursday.

Germany’s exports of passenger cars to China increased by 14 percent year-on-year to 16.7 billion euros ($18.7 billion) last year, according to Destatis.

German car exports to the United States recovered to 15.9 billion euros in 2021 while exports to Britain, the industry’s third-largest export country, fell by 17 percent to 9.4 billion euros.

After being affected by “severe COVID-19-restrictions” in 2020, German car exports increased slightly to 117.6 billion euros last year but were still 8.2 percent below pre-crisis levels in 2019, according to Destatis.

Besides the global pandemic, “the lack of chips and other delivery bottlenecks affected the German automotive industry in 2021,” Destatis said.

While exports of cars with traditional internal combustion engines declined, Germany witnessed strong increases in exports of all-electric vehicles and hybrid passenger cars. Germany exported around 300,000 pure electric vehicles worth 12.6 billion euros in 2021, according to Destatis.

The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) expects the global passenger car market to grow by 4 percent in 2022. The United States and China would grow by 2 percent, while the European market was forecasted to grow by 5 percent due to catch-up effects.