Germany aligns with the announcement made by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, regarding the investigation into state subsidies from Beijing to its electric vehicles.
The program mentioned by von der Leyen provides tax exemptions to consumers who purchase electric cars until 2027 and is estimated to be worth $72.3 billion.
The German leader asserts that this “is distorting the market” and that “competition is only true when it is fair.”
During the first quarter, imports of Chinese electric cars into Germany have tripled, with approximately 30% of these imports originating from the Asian giant.
In this context, Robert Habeck, the German Minister of Economy, states: “This is about unfair competition, it’s not about keeping efficient cheap cars out of the European market”.
These statements were made during a joint press conference with his French counterpart, Bruno Le Maire, and Federal Finance Minister, Christian Lindner.
According to the report published by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), in August, 86.649 electric vehicles were registered in Germany, a 170% increase compared to July.
Plug-in hybrids recorded 14.552 units, a 41% decrease from the previous month.
In August, the most popular Chinese brands in the country were MG, which registered 2.454 vehicles, a 9.6% increase compared to the previous month.
The second place goes Great Wall Motor (GWM), wich sold 2.211 units, compared to just 221 in July.
The third place goes to BYD, which registered 2.034 electric vehicles, a month-on-month increase of 403%.
These figures underscore China’s significant influence, with its market in Germany tripling compared to the same period in 2022.
Simultaneously, the exports from the European country to China show a 23.9% decline compared to the first quarter of the previous year.
At the same time, many of the raw materials needed by the German automotive industry for the transition to electromobility come from China.
These statistics reveal the German population’s dependence on a variety of Chinese products, raising concerns for its economy.
Therefore, German car manufacturers are concerned about the potential arrival of a wave of cheap Chinese zero-emission cars, which could weaken the local industry.
Regarding this matter, during the IAA Mobility, Hildegard Mueller, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), states: “We are losing our competitiveness“.
“The Munich Motor Show illustrates how the high pressure of international competition makes it essential for Germany to invest more in electrification,” she details.
Conversely, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasizes that competition from electric vehicles abroad should be “a stimulus, not a concern”.
It is worth noting that 41% of the exhibitors at this year’s Munich event were from Asia, with double the attendance of Chinese companies compared to previous editions.
Similarly, in a report, Transport & Environment asserts that “European manufacturers can compete with the influx of small Chinese electric vehicles in the B-segment.”
T&E maintains that the availability of smaller and more affordable electric vehicles could change the game for the mass adoption of electric cars.
China responds to the investigation into electric cars
In a statement, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Commerce expresses concern and strong dissatisfaction.
“The investigative measures proposed by the EU seek to protect its own industry by invoking ‘fair competition’,” the spokesperson emphasizes.
And adds: “This is flagrantly protectionist behavior that will seriously disrupt and distort the global automotive industry’s supply chain”.