Can Chinese domestic EV manufacturers rule foreign markets?

China, the world’s largest auto market, has supported numerous domestic electric vehicle (EV) brands throughout the years. These automakers are exporting their posh vehicles in an effort to expand globally. It remains to be seen if consumers will welcome the new competitors.

The first nine months of 2022 saw the export of 389,000 new energy vehicles (NEVs), a more than 100% increase over the same period in 2017, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). Hybrid, plug-in, battery, and fuel cell EVs are examples of NEVs.

However, a sizable chunk of China’s NEV exports were Teslas built in Shanghai. According to CnEVPost, Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory exported 97,182 vehicles in the first half of 2022, or around 48% of the nation’s NEV exports.

According to CAAM, Thailand, the UK, and Belgium are China’s top three export destinations for NEVs. Mexico has also experienced exponential expansion.

Premium NEV models have also raised the value of the nation’s automobile exports. According to data from the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), the average cost of a Chinese car exported in 2018 was $12,900 USD. in August 2022, it increased to US$18,900.

BYD expands to India, Europe, and Japan

This year, a number of EV manufacturers in China are stepping up their international business expansion. In terms of significant expansion, BYD is in the lead. With a goal of going on sale in 2023, the business launched three passenger EV vehicles in Japan in July.

Seiji Sugiura, an expert at the Tokai Tokyo Research Institute, reportedly told Nikkei Asia that BYD prioritizes mass-produced vehicles rather than affordable or luxurious cars in the nation.

In Japan’s automotive business, storied automakers like Toyota have created fierce competition. The fact that big Japanese manufacturers have not fully adopted BEVs, however, may work to BYD’s advantage.

In the 1990s, the Chinese automaker started to export commercial vehicles like electric buses abroad. In August of this year, 5,092 NEVs were sold outside of China, up 26.5% over July, according to BYD.

Three BEV models were introduced by BYD at the end of September in Europe. The cars will be shipped to Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg with self-developed blade batteries. By the end of the year, France and the UK will be able to purchase the vehicles, according to the business.

BYD has also made strides in the rental car industry in Europe. Reuters reports that it has closed a deal to sell 100,000 EVs to German automobile rental company Sixt. Before 2028, the purchase, according to Sixt, will be completed in phases. In the fourth quarter of 2022, the first pack of automobiles will be made accessible in Europe.

On October 11, BYD declared that its electric SUV model, the Atto 3, would be its entry into the Indian passenger car market. BusinessToday. According to, the company plans to sell 15,000 Atto 3s throughout the nation during the following year.

The cars will be put together at BYD India’s plant close to Chennai, according to executive director Ketsu Zhang. At the proper moment, BYD also intends to construct an electric vehicle production factory in India.

NIO introduced subscription-based EVs in Europe.

Early in October, the top Chinese EV company NIO had a launch event in Berlin for Europe. In May 2021, the business introduced its model to Norway, marking its first international market entry.

NIO released three vehicles in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden along with subscription models, positioning it to be a major participant in Europe.

The business wants to promote EV use by using the subscription model. It stated that terms for the car range from one month to sixty months. Users would receive services including battery replacement, winter tires, insurance, and maintenance.

NIO has introduced the EV battery swapping service to Europe as a proponent of the practice. At its facility in Hungary, it created the first battery swap station made in Europe and shipped it to Germany for installation.

By the end of this year, the company stated it will establish 20 battery swap stations in Europe, and by the end of the next year, it would have 120. In addition to Norway and Germany, InsideEVs claims that NIO would also set up swap stations in the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark.

Opportunities come with difficulties.

After BYD and NIO, Voyah, an electric vehicle subsidiary of Dongfeng Motor in China, is prepared to grow after sending its first 500 vehicles to Norway at the end of September.

According to Securities Daily, Voyah’s CEO Lu Feng stated that due to their general performance and intelligence, Chinese-made EVs might be competitive in the European market. Moreover, renowned European ICE vehicle manufacturers have found it difficult to transition to EVs. Chinese automakers could thus seize the chance and expand domestically.

Many consumers feel Chinese-made EVs offer a greater price-performance ratio, according to certain market observers. Automobile manufacturers would be able to significantly reduce costs and set themselves up for success abroad if they could locate the majority of their suppliers in China.

The backing of the Chinese government would also offer EV producers strength to grow internationally. Li Fei, China’s associate commerce minister, stated at a news conference early in September that the government will support the expansion of NEV makers in international markets by pushing Chinese banks to provide consumer financial products abroad.

Additionally, Li stated that the government will endeavor to improve export transportation, including transporting NEVs via the China-Europe railway.

On the other hand, before gaining a presence in overseas markets, China’s EV manufacturers would have to overcome obstacles. For instance, Paul Gong, head of China automobiles research at UBS, stated at a press conference in August that several automakers preferred to introduce new models in Norway as the first location in Europe. However, the population of the nation is only about one-fifth that of Shanghai. There is a small market.

Additionally, Gong noted that some Western buyers still hold prejudices or biases towards Chinese products, which could be difficult for EV manufacturers. He noted that building a solid reputation for the entire Chinese car industry might take years.

Additionally, geopolitics may have an impact on Chinese automakers’ plans to construct factories or localize production abroad. Gong argued that even if China’s automobile sector has expanded to foster greater competition, trade restrictions or protectionism may force western nations to support domestic manufacturers.


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