Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: March 11, 2024
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By Mobility Portal
European Union

177,839 Chinese EVs in 4 months: European Commission states that the massive import “will cause damage difficult to repair”

The European Commission would allow retroactive tariffs on Chinese EVs to safeguard the domestic industry. Nonetheless, brands like Omoda, Nio, Zeekr, and Li Auto have already announced their plans for 2024 and 2025 in the old continent.
China exports electric vehicles (EV) BYD
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

On 5th March, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, issued a statement announcing the implementation of a new regulation for the electromobility market, which will be in effect for the next nine months.

This involves imposing registration measures on imports of new electric vehicles (EVs) for transporting up to nine passengers from the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

“There is a risk that an increasing number of Union producers will suffer a decline in sales and a reduction in production levels if imports from the PRC continue at current increasing levels at supposedly subsidized prices, as has been demonstrated so far,” the document highlights.

And it continues: “It is clear that this risk will negatively affect employment and the overall performance of Union producers. This would constitute damage that would be difficult to repair.

In this regard, the registration of imports aims to facilitate the application of potential countervailing duties in case the investigation confirms the existence of subsidies.

This attestation includes elements such as the direct transfer of funds, the waiver of government revenue, and the provision of goods or services by the government at prices below appropriate remuneration.

Furthermore, the evidence demonstrates massive imports over a relatively short period.

The quantity of these imports between October 2023 and January 2024 is 177,839 units, representing a 14 per cent increase between the two months.

Moreover, the document indicates an 11 per cent increase compared to the investigation period (from October 2022 to September 2023).

It’s worth mentioning that the study conducted by the EU will conclude in November, so there is still no final verdict.

The China Chamber of Commerce expressed its discontent with the regulations, stating that the increase in their exports to the EU reflects the growing demand for EVs on the continent.

Additionally, in dialogue with Mobility Portal Group, Peggy Liu, President of JUCCCE, provides her version of events.

In her presentation, Liu argues that government support is not directed towards production, but, based on her experience, the benefits are passed on to the end consumer.

“I would like to make things clear: there are no subsidies for electric vehicle manufacturers from the central government of Beijing or China. In fact, they are competing with each other,” clarifies the environmental leader.

“China is selling cars at lower prices in its country but at a much higher price in Europe to make a profit,” explains Liu.

Chinese firms are not giving up: They will continue exporting to Europe

Explorer 1.

Despite Europe’s attempts to discourage the entry of Asian electric vehicles, Chinese firms continue to announce their arrival on the continent.

BYD, the leading company in EV exports, acquired its own ro-ro ship, the Explorer 1, to transport cars globally.

This ship, which began operating in January, has the capacity to transport up to 7,000 units.

Another recent and clear example of this migration is the expedition carried out by the Chery Group.

In December, this business conglomerate announced the shipment of cargo comprising 700 units of the new Omoda 5 model.

This vehicle is a clear example of the competitive prices offered by Chinese manufacturers, with an estimated cost of less than 30,000 euros.

Other companies that already have a notable presence in Europe include MG, which has already sold over 100,000 units, Aiways, DFSK, and Xpeng.

Additionally, in response to the perceived high demand, other Asian firms have already announced their plans for this year in the continent.

For example, Nio plans to start selling its SUV ES8 and the sedan ET7 in 2024.

Moreover, Zeekr, Geely’s premium brand, will seek to export its SUV Zeekr 001.

Finally, Li Auto, known for its plug-in hybrid SUVs, plans to launch a fully electric model next year.

France and Germany: the two sides of the coin

One of the countries that has already taken steps to discourage the purchase of Chinese EVs is France, excluding them from incentives.  

The government is committed to decarbonization, so over the years, it has been granting an ecological bonus to producers in the industry, which has undergone certain alterations.

The modifications concern qualification requirements, now focusing on a minimum environmental assessment instead of just considering the weight and price of the car.

This means that only vehicles with an environmental rating of over 60 out of 80 points can receive the subsidy.

While the new regulation favours some European brands, it excludes cars manufactured in China.

While some representatives in the industry saw this measure as “advantageous,” others perceived it as “exclusive” or “discriminatory.”

On the other hand, BYD has been appointed as the official electric mobility partner for the UEFA Euro 2024 Football Championship, which will be held in Germany.

In this way, BYD will be the first manufacturer of alternative energy cars to be a partner in this prestigious tournament.

In this context, questions arise about why a local brand is not preferred.

Regarding this, Eduardo Morejón, Country Manager of Iberia at Road, a provider of EV charging platform, emphasized that “China represents a real threat to German car manufacturers.

The truth is that Germany is one of the leading global producers of automobiles.

If it could participate as the official partner of UEFA 2024, it could promote its own industry and strengthen the domestic electric vehicle market by choosing a manufacturer like Volkswagen, as highlighted by gridX in conversation with Mobility Portal Europe.

However, the choice of the Chinese manufacturer is not arbitrary.

It is important to note that in December 2023, BYD positioned itself as the best-selling electric car manufacturer worldwide, surpassing even Tesla.

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