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China’s automakers take the world by storm with electric vehicle push

Visitors looking at BYD vehicles at the IAA Mobility 2023 international motor show on September 6 in Munich.

The IAA Mobility auto show in Munich, Germany, has seen a strong presence from Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers. Over 50 companies, including established players like BYD and emerging brands like Xpeng, have participated in the event, as reported by China’s state media.

This marks a significant increase compared to the previous edition and represents the largest-ever Chinese delegation at a global car expo. Their participation has generated considerable buzz and discussions throughout the city.

Renault CEO Luca de Meo praised the impressive progress made by Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers even before the start of the show. He acknowledged their competitiveness in the electric car value chain, stating that they are a generation ahead. This sentiment reflects the urgency for European automakers to catch up quickly.

Chinese electric vehicle exports to Europe, the largest market for these vehicles, have been flourishing. In the first half of this year alone, Chinese companies exported nearly 350,000 EVs to nine European countries, surpassing the total exports for all of 2022. Over the past five years, imports of Chinese cars by the European Union have quadrupled.

Projections suggest that by 2030, Chinese carmakers could potentially double their global market share from 17% to 33%. This growth is expected to come at the expense of European manufacturers, who might experience significant market share losses.

Furthermore, an overwhelming majority of Chinese carmakers surveyed expressed their intention to primarily export electric vehicles. BYD, China’s largest EV manufacturer, aims to expand its dealer network in Europe, targeting 200 partners this year. They also plan to significantly increase their overseas sales to 250,000 vehicles in 2023 compared to 55,916 in 2022.

Xpeng, another Chinese automaker, unveiled new models at the show and announced its entrance into the German market in 2024. They are also focused on expanding their sales and service centers throughout Europe by the end of this year.

Against this backdrop, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse highlighted the upcoming EU ban on conventional vehicles and the intensifying competition from Chinese automakers. He suggested that European mass-market car manufacturers may consider exiting the production of such vehicles due to concerns about profitability after the ban takes effect.

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