US auto parts exports and imports, and international markets

Canada, Mexico and China are the three highest-ranked markets for auto parts exports from the US, although for significantly different reasons. Those three countries are also the three highest for auto parts imports into the US. In 2018, total auto parts imported to the US from all countries was over $158 billion (US$) marking a 7% increase over 2017. In 2018, total auto parts exported from the US to the world was over $88 billion (US$), a 2.2% increase from 2017. Scroll down to see import and export data tables.

Chinese auto parts exports from the US

China is projected to produce over 27 million vehicles by 2020, and is the third largest market for US automotive parts. Click To TweetFor OEM as well as aftermarket parts, China ranks high because China has a very high level of vehicle production as a base. China produced an average of nearly 18 million vehicles per year from 2012 to 2014, and in 2015 produced as many as 24 million vehicles according to Investopedia. This puts China ahead of the US, the world’s second-largest vehicle manufacturer.

auto parts imports exportsThis level of vehicle production is more than twice as large as Japan, which produced just over 8 million vehicles per year from 2012 to 2014.

China is projected to manufacture over 27 million vehicles by 2020, including commercial and private vehicles.

This high level of vehicle manufacturing is why China is the third largest market for U.S. automotive parts. US auto part exports to China grew from under $1 billion in 2009 to over $3.6 billion in 2018, an increase of over 260%.

Auto parts exports to Canada and Mexico

Canada and Mexico are the top two markets for OE and aftermarket parts, even though they produce fewer vehicles than China: Canada averaged about 1 million vehicles per year and Mexico averaged almost 2 million per year, between 2012 and 2014. Both Canada and Mexico have historically been the largest foreign markets for US automotive parts, accounting for almost three-quarters of all US auto parts exports in 2014 and 2015.

This is partially because the automotive industry and automotive supply chains are highly integrated between Canada, Mexico and the United States, plus cross-border shipping is easier than with countries that require crossing an ocean.

The US automotive parts industry has nearly doubled since 2009. Click To TweetThe US automotive parts industry has nearly doubled since 2009. Large automakers now exist in all major countries around the world, including China, India and Russia, along with the traditional manufacturers in the US, Europe and Japan. Each OEM produces their own parts, including engines and transmissions, or frames and bodies. In recent years, more large OEM manufacturers look to “tier one” parts suppliers for the design and production of most components or large sub-assemblies. Many of these largest tier one suppliers are now as global as the vehicle manufacturers themselves.

Tier one companies are direct suppliers to OEMs. These suppliers, in turn, get parts and sub components from tier two and tier three companies. It is similar for aftermarket parts suppliers, but with some differences. A common aftermarket replacement part, such as a transmission or suspension part, may be the exact same part, built by the same OEM manufacturer/supplier. Specialty components and accessories, purchased by consumers to customize or enhance their vehicle, tend to come from non-tier one manufacturers.

The Federal International Trade Administration has ranked the top counties by their openness to trade for automotive aftermarket parts. Among the top 20 counties that receive auto parts exports from the US, the counties most open to trade are Hong Kong, Singapore, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates. Countries least open to trade with the US are Brazil, China, Mexico, Russia and Thailand.

Exports of auto parts from the United States

In 2018 the US exported over $88B in automotive parts worldwide, a 2.2% increase over 2017. Click To TweetIn 2016 the US exported over $85 billion in automotive parts. 2017 was up 6.5% over 2016. US auto parts exports have nearly doubled since 2009. The top five countries receiving OEM and aftermarket auto parts are Canada, Mexico, China, Germany and Japan. Countries receiving aftermarket parts only are Canada, Mexico, China, Hong Kong and Singapore. Here is a table showing the top 20 countries that are export partners to the US, and the entire world, for the past seven years. The table includes both OEM and aftermarket auto parts and can be sorted and searched.

Table: Exports of Auto Parts From the US

Mexico$32,496,522,995$29,982,174,799$28,519,534,377$30,062,216,261 $29,156,114,498 $26,537,142,312 $24,341,278,512
Canada$30,291,015,078$31,545,287,513$31,039,463,638$29,654,254,391 $30,663,858,437 $31,780,030,722 $31,837,622,201
China$3,609,901,384$3,534,150,670$2,895,560,394$2,390,362,228 $2,588,544,264 $2,288,017,980 $1,594,038,587
Germany$2,478,065,529$2,364,488,381$2,045,879,656$1,959,368,982 $1,818,598,683 $1,720,837,083 $1,636,035,254
United Kingdom$1,993,701,159$1,587,524,705$1,496,276,596$1,438,009,786 $1,383,234,114 $952,224,528 $1,062,442,483
Japan$1,834,972,181$1,760,767,980$1,616,463,792$1,505,820,240 $1,430,236,230 $1,343,638,824 $1,487,990,560
Netherlands$1,319,115,914$1,131,690,919$940,388,533$796,911,778 $566,755,836 $351,616,690 $230,079,218
Brazil$1,220,586,944$2,132,376,789$1,123,658,158$1,035,117,733 $1,071,251,336 $1,088,940,871 $1,010,769,712
Australia$1,205,826,337$1,167,234,779$1,082,478,047$1,290,773,508 $1,436,665,050 $1,488,732,659 $1,935,275,238
Italy$831,848,056$819,424,907$633,906,984$810,472,302 $509,623,813 $334,383,821 $264,449,022
Korea$780,053,060$893,537,669$983,397,062$926,967,168 $903,512,498 $804,250,689 $707,173,809
South Africa$667,607,276$433,610,755$347,078,283$419,035,114 $358,757,697 $316,796,965 $355,014,635
Hong Kong$604,362,495$475,069,490$376,904,950$514,898,330 $820,534,072 $396,839,632 $277,258,094
United Arab Emirates$577,085,136$648,087,458$601,068,476$690,435,606 $719,849,113 $567,867,360 $500,507,610
Thailand$545,072,630$662,064,060$622,419,324$337,692,538 $277,606,246 $376,012,415 $326,721,346
Belgium$497,090,143$460,457,631$449,311,166$501,320,756 $487,213,240 $425,182,209 $519,143,654
Spain$490,597,244$377,946,964$402,647,688$427,691,210 $299,931,936 $253,018,729 $176,536,271
France$435,081,328$355,989,386$363,625,553$452,827,246 $475,504,945 $475,625,069 $469,148,794
Russia$425,575,853$454,570,937$369,802,365$384,813,116 $547,405,802 $493,763,341 $287,971,343
Chile$368,246,853$349,447,695$343,411,407$450,474,201 $542,049,409 $561,806,314 $565,348,523

Imports of auto parts to the United States and tariffs

In 2018 the US exported over US$88 billion in #automotive parts worldwide, and imported over US$158 billion. Click To TweetIn 2018 the US imported over $158 billion in automotive parts. This is a 7% increase from 2017. The 2017 trend was nearly flat compared to 2016, down only 0.01%.

In 2018, the value of imported auto parts was 79% higher than the value of auto parts exported from the US. Tariffs on imported auto parts are topic of discussion and is frequently in the news. Opponents of tariffs often point to potential harm to the US consumer or auto parts industry through higher costs of imported goods. Proponents of tariffs often point to the an “imbalance” of exports vs. imports, citing the $88 billion export value vs. the $158 billion in import value. The arguments pro or against tariffs are more detailed and complex than we can cover in this analysis.

Imports of auto parts from China, Mexico and Canada

In 2018 the US imported over $20B in #automotive parts from China, a 14.5% increase over 2018. Click To TweetThe top countries sending auto parts into the US are Mexico, China, and Canada. Japan and Germany rank at #4 and #5. Chinese automotive parts imported into the US reached $20 billion in 2018, an increase of 14.5% over 2017.

Here is a table showing the top 21 countries that import auto parts to the US. The top row shows the total amount of auto parts imports from the entire world, for the past seven years. The table includes both OEM and aftermarket auto parts and can be sorted and searched.

Table: Imports of Auto Parts into the US

WORLD$158,776,519,250 $148,785,711,986$148,170,657,138$150,183,186,793$145,128,282,655$126,495,144,435 $124,681,381,401
Mexico$59,368,216,449 $55,335,446,529$55,183,610,604$53,092,390,801$49,391,866,761$42,000,905,406 $38,932,070,449
China$20,143,266,888 $17,589,509,641$17,387,295,677$18,750,554,112$18,541,340,290$15,965,902,808 $14,663,080,661
Canada$17,547,058,258 $16,374,927,742$17,082,248,072$17,730,757,669$18,249,572,012$16,340,582,129 $16,928,479,252
Japan$16,125,726,771 $16,278,257,896$15,066,692,626$14,857,041,135$15,917,744,188$14,814,802,961 $17,083,496,396
Germany$9,624,122,834 $9,878,082,700$10,043,557,361$11,283,104,331$10,715,202,919$9,500,363,249 $9,360,044,011
Korea$8,858,601,984 $8,283,514,715$9,248,110,954$9,100,719,759$8,716,942,165$7,777,930,420 $7,650,941,329
Thailand$3,498,929,904 $3,188,703,016$2,993,228,136$2,546,007,218$2,071,855,582$1,808,884,855 $2,011,621,904
Taiwan$3,239,605,392 $3,160,803,756$2,957,164,551$3,121,937,224$2,902,067,456$2,552,243,436 $2,441,211,112
India$1,802,013,001 $1,467,674,240$1,266,730,273$1,405,909,754$1,279,809,263$967,307,583 $1,133,395,630
Italy$1,651,501,506 $1,118,300,674$1,342,357,334$1,635,982,971$1,605,517,288$1,087,879,064 $1,033,968,128
United Kingdom$1,433,605,849 $1,309,099,892$1,183,788,699$1,325,122,574$1,401,974,598$1,264,377,146 $1,106,553,512
Vietnam$1,405,870,984 $1,192,754,956$918,092,552$767,493,733$629,615,627$584,409,989 $537,971,835
Brazil$1,242,946,134 $1,131,907,355$984,556,981$1,079,459,310$1,095,222,918$1,107,097,721 $1,475,840,793
Austria$1,045,630,143 $1,150,050,390$1,123,326,917$1,374,426,970$1,377,170,974$941,334,552 $973,738,543
Indonesia$1,019,842,864 $1,140,730,194$1,209,340,828$1,067,776,023$843,263,223$851,264,711 $835,782,201
Spain$899,170,213 $955,121,169$887,265,776$1,099,663,442 $1,040,352,939 $896,645,710 $798,941,169
Philippines$860,218,310 $854,499,783$852,575,573$916,947,819 $769,631,373$631,530,221 $562,877,540
Czech Republic$836,820,458 $834,606,225$830,453,238$871,465,387$742,195,021$669,726,462 $641,200,481
France$810,009,112 $838,509,579$857,676,395$858,020,623$943,239,149$872,523,422 $839,551,565
Hungary$503,217,881 $561,189,386$601,972,225$614,668,788$607,724,354$472,428,150 $435,276,918

Exports of auto parts from the US by part type

This table shows the types of parts exported from the United States by year. It includes both OEM and aftermarket auto parts and shows the Harmonized System (HS) code for each part type. This table can be sorted and searched.

US Exports by Part Type

HS Code/Part Description201620152014201320122011
870810 Bumpers & Parts$602,758,293$584,316,771$600,134,575$523,408,697$522,688,854$493,538,294
870821 Safety Seat Belts$68,631,912$61,724,172$59,849,636$73,072,222$79,017,381$78,865,061
870829 Body Parts & Access$8,529,253,106$8,210,384,661$8,526,642,438$8,661,334,740$8,205,476,601$7,582,295,017
870830 Brakes & Parts$2,479,888,996$2,368,228,799$2,231,514,398$2,090,032,277$2,218,908,526$1,961,824,257
870840 Gear Boxes$6,379,708,627$6,035,160,148$5,998,300,199$6,001,638,126$5,165,350,928$4,990,756,761
870850 Drive Axles w/ Differentials$2,067,792,245$2,153,037,873$2,106,295,099$1,885,303,230$1,984,308,374$1,850,653,303
870870 Road Wheels & Access$832,071,446$1,030,989,460$1,215,594,590$1,185,429,798$1,124,498,247$970,833,345
870880 Suspension Shock Absorbers$2,092,620,007$2,270,230,920$2,103,764,054$2,108,664,044$2,053,881,522$1,859,776,857
870891 Radiators$422,296,544$467,038,305$491,727,767$524,875,825$584,165,547$490,331,339
870892 Mufflers & Exhaust Pipes$644,063,032$690,920,082$648,566,394$832,068,076$940,431,295$848,423,403
870893 Clutches & Parts$653,076,919$625,773,260$636,451,839$598,977,653$557,194,688$539,342,994
870894 Steering Wheels, Columns & Boxes$2,350,864,370$2,223,128,074$1,955,982,219$1,887,891,154$1,638,336,968$1,421,379,366
870895 Safety Airbags$1,399,185,762$1,284,496,599$1,189,689,734$1,142,954,991$1,118,403,140$987,556,828
870899 Other Parts & Accessories$9,422,174,041$10,857,420,524$9,599,356,486$9,901,168,063$10,975,447,341$10,276,416,317

More information on the aftermarket

If you’d like more information on the automotive aftermarket, including size of the aftermarket in the US, Canada, Mexico and other countries, read this post on the size of the automotive aftermarket.

Information sources for this article

United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Foreign Trade Division; Bureau of the Census USA Trade and Investopedia. Import and export statistics pulled from TPIS Database: USHS IMPORTS, Revised Statistics for 1989-2017, unrevised for 2018.