Chinese car factories arrive in Europe

For some time now the recurring theme in the automotive world is that of Chinese car manufacturers. The European Union has begun an investigation because, in the words of Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, the price of Chinese cars “is kept artificially low thanks to huge state subsidies. “That is distorting our market.” Everything indicates – it is not definitive – that the current 10% tariffs on imports of Chinese vehicles will be increased.

The Chinese response has not been long in coming. If those tariffs on their imported products make their products uncompetitive, they will manufacture them here in Europe. It is not a threat, but a reality and there are firm production plans.

Let's review the current projects in alphabetical order:

  • BYD: They have set their sights on reaching a 5% share of electric car sales in Europe. To do this, they will begin production in a new passenger car plant in Hungary before 2026. The plant will have an annual capacity of 150,000 units, but could double it to reach 300,000 units.
  • Cherry: The big Spanish news, because last week they announced that they will produce cars from their Omoda brand in the old Nissan factory in Barcelona. They want to start this year and manufacture 150,000 vehicles a year until 2029, in a joint venture with the Spanish EV Motors. It is only the beginning, since it seems that they are in talks with the Italian government to open a second European plant. According to Italian media, the government has offered Chery existing unused plants and a new location in southern Italy where they could build a new one.
  • Dongfeng Motor: They have started talks with the Italian government to open a plant where they can manufacture more than 100,000 vehicles a year. The government plans to offer Dongfeng several options, Qian Xie, director of European operations, told Reuters.
  • Leapmotor: Stellantis acquired 21% of this Chinese startup that develops electric access cars and is now looking for options to build its cars in one of Stellantis' European plants. In fact, production of Leapmotor's T03 could begin this summer at the Tychy, Poland factory, but it is said that the Mirafiori plant is also being considered to be able to assemble up to 150,000 Leapmotor electric vehicles per year.
  • MG Motor: From the SAIC brand (the best-selling in Europe at the moment, with 231,684 units in 2023), they indicate that the location of a factory in Europe (which will be finalized in two or three years) will depend on energy and labor costs. . The United Kingdom, the largest market for the firm at the moment. In fact, SAIC owns part of the Longbridge manufacturing complex, which once belonged to MG Rover, although the assembly areas were sold as developable land in 2021.

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