Competitiveness of the Japanese, Korean, and Chinese Automobile Industries

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Hiromi Shioji


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2012)


compétitivité, marchés


The automobile industry has been developing remarkably in the East Asian countries—Japan, Korea, and China—in recent years. In terms of domestic production, China produced 18.3 million vehicles in 2010, more than any other country in the world. Japan is the second largest, at 9.6 million. Korea ranks fifth, at 4.3 million. Out of the top five automobile industries, three are in East Asia. In 2001, Japan held the second place, and Korea the fifth; China was in the seventh place. This momentum will not stagnate; production in China will increase to around 25 million by the middle of the 2010s, and is likely to exceed the output of other countries.

This paper aims to analyse the international competitiveness of the Japanese, Korean, and Chinese automobile industries. Analysing in detail the production, sales, and import/export statistics published by each country’s Automobile Manufacturer Association, we clarify the competitiveness of each country and the differences among them.

There are many existing research studies on the competitiveness of the East Asian automobile industries.3 These studies analysed many aspects of automobile makers, such as their development, production, distribution, finance, supply chains, organizational capability, industrial policies of government, and historical process. There is, however, little research about how the international competitiveness of a country’s automobile industry as a whole can be examined quantitatively. Most existing research only introduces production and export numbers as numerical indices of international competitiveness; these numbers are based only on ‘Producer Country Base’ (later described). This paper analyses the total international competitiveness of the Japanese, Korean, and Chinese automobile industries.

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