Issues in International Comparison of Used Vehicle Exports

Type de publication:

Conference Proceedings


Arata Abe


Gerpisa colloquium, Brussels (2024)


The reality is that automobiles are reused across national borders as used vehicles. With the increasing electrification of automobiles, especially in developed countries, it is important to capture the structure of the international resource cycle of automobiles. However, it is not easy to calculate and compare the number of used vehicles exported by each country. What should be kept in mind in the comparison is the scope of the items. There is also the issue of the accuracy of the statistical figures.
The number of used vehicles exported fluctuates depending on each country's circumstances, such as exchange rates, policies such as import restrictions in destination countries, economic conditions, and demand. The major destinations may differ from one exporting country to another, and the impact of such differences may vary, resulting in large or small relationships among exporting countries at different times of the year. Taking these factors into account, this paper compares used vehicle export volumes for Japan, the EU (27 countries), the U.S., South Korea, and the U.K., and presents the issues involved.
There are two issues in calculating the number of used vehicle exports in the EU: first, there is uncertainty about the number of vehicles exported to the EU region. Using figures from Germany's annual report on end-of-life vehicle recycling, the number of used vehicles exported from Germany to the EU in 2017 was 1.99 million, a large discrepancy from the figure in trade statistics (0.28 million units). Another issue is the reliability of the figures themselves: the EU trade statistics sometimes include non-negligible quantities of vehicles that weigh less than 100 kg per vehicle. In this context, we will compile the number of used vehicles exported outside the EU for each EU country by destination, and add them together after making corrections.
Another issue in international comparisons is the range of items. The range of items to be compared can lead to a misinterpretation of the structure of the relationship between large and small items. Therefore, it is necessary to present and compare the quantities of items that are not classified as new or used vehicles through estimation. One specific method of estimation is to calculate the percentage of used vehicles from the new/used vehicle category for each year and multiply it by the quantity of items without a new/used vehicle category. However, it is assumed that the percentage of used vehicles will vary by destination. Therefore, it is more desirable to calculate the percentage of used vehicles by destination, multiply it by the quantity of items that are not classified as new or used vehicles at each destination, and total it. Furthermore, these should be done by vehicle type (buses, passenger cars, and freight vehicles).
With the above issues in mind, we will calculate and compare used vehicle export volumes for Japan, the EU (27 countries), the US, South Korea, and the UK from 2010 to 2019. First, a simple tabulation of the volumes with used vehicle categories in trade statistics for Japan, the U.S., and South Korea shows Japan: 11.51 million units, the U.S.: 7.56 million units, and South Korea: 3.01 million units.
For the EU, the figure is 10.79 million units in the trade statistics, but if the volume of less than 100 kg per vehicle is adjusted downward to account for outliers, the figure is 10.47 million units. Similarly, the UK's trade statistics show 3.09 million units and the revised figure is 1.37 million units; compared to the EU, the gap between the trade statistics and the revised figure is larger in the UK. If the figures for exports of the same vehicles weighing 500 kg or less per vehicle are adjusted downward, the EU figure is 10.42 million units, not much different, while the UK figure is revised downward even more significantly to 0.94 million units.
Adding the estimated volumes of items that are not classified as new or used vehicles to these figures, we arrive at 11.54 million for Japan, 10.6 million for the EU, 9.11 million for the US, 3.01 million for Korea, and 1.02 million for the UK (the revised figures of 100 kg or less per vehicle for the EU and 500 kg or less for the UK are used). Although we avoid discussing the figures in strict terms because they include estimates, it is safe to say that Japan, the EU, and the U.S. are at the same level of scale. However, when limited to Africa, a total of 11.11 million vehicles were exported during the same period, of which 4.95 million were from the EU, far more than Japan (2.6 million), the US (1.95 million), and Korea (1.17 million). exceeded and was the world's largest exporter to Africa during this period. In order to understand the structure of the global used car trade, it is necessary to include such destinations.

  GIS Gerpisa /
  4 Avenue des Sciences, 91190 Gif-sur-Yvette

Copyright© Gerpisa
Concéption Tommaso Pardi
Administration Juan Sebastian Carbonell, Lorenza MonacoGéry Deffontaines

Créé avec l'aide de Drupal, un système de gestion de contenu "opensource"