China's electric vehicle makers face uphill battle in Europe ( www.dw.com )

China has been accused of dumping cheap electric cars on EU countries. But poor sales, price wars and tariff threats have prompted a mood change among some Chinese auto producers.

European policymakers warned a few months ago that the continent was being flooded with cheap Chinese electric vehicles. They accused Beijing of backing major production overcapacity to allow China's automakers to grow their share of the global EV market.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, launched an anti-subsidy probe into the oversupply issue late last year and warned China's EV makers that they could face a new import tariff to offset what Brussels said was unfair competition for European carmakers. 

The United States is due to levy a 100% import tax on Chinese-made electric cars, up from the current 25%, which will effectively keep Chinese automakers out of the US market. The EU currently levies a 10% tariff.

zephyreks , (edited )

I'll tell this story in three parts:

  1. Tesla's US subsidies

  2. China's EV exports

  3. China's "overcapacity"

Part 1.Tesla's US subsidies. Under the US' Inflation Reduction Act, purchases of new EVs made in the USA were given a tax incentive of $7500. Previously, states such as California has other incentives such as the $7500 incentive under CVRP. How much in subsidies has Tesla received from tax credits alone under the IRA in 2023, ignoring state-level benefits and carryover from pre-2023 benefits? 654000 sales, for a total of almost $5 billion dollars in purchase-side government subsidies. For 2023. We also know that Tesla has received billions in state-level government funding to set up factories in California, and billions more in government funding for their other various efforts. In comparison between 2009 and 2022, China handed out about $28 billion in EV subsidies, much of that at the state-level to encourage companies to set up factories. In fact, Tesla received huge subsidies to set up it's factories in Shanghai. By the end of 2022, China had phased out most purchase-side subsidies (except some lingering programs that are not set for renewal). Note that the maximum purchase-side subsidy was about $1750. China's most significant subsidy today is in it's expansion of the domestic charging network: China makes up 68% of the world's charging stations, with a huge number of them being fast chargers. Much of that expansion came out of government coffers and is a huge driver for EV adoption in China.

Part 2. China's EV exports. In 2022, China's EV exports were as follows, sorted by volume:

270k - Tesla

140k - SAIC (mostly under the British brand MG)

72k - European joint ventures

55k - BYD

(others)

So, let's be more clear about what the EU means: they don't like that foreign companies (including European ones, but mostly Tesla, and almost all European/American brands) are setting up shop in China to produce cars for export.

Part 3. China's "overcapacity". It's no secret that China has pitiful O&G reserves. Oil, notably, is needed for ICE vehicles, but not for EVs. That is, the switch to EVs is a matter of national security for China as it reduces Chinese reliance on foreign oil supplies. Indeed, a huge proportion of Chinese EV production is going to the domestic market, and exports make up only about 10% of total sales (for reference, this number is more like 70% for Toyota).

To sum it up: unlike Toyota/Japan (and others), China is consuming the vast majority of its production. Meanwhile, a huge number of it's exports are from foreign companies. It's most notable exporter is Tesla, which is notable for having received $5 billion in purchase-side tax incentives in 2023 in the US... Alone. This is compared to $28 billion between 2009 and 2022, most of which have been phased out, and for which a big proportion was to encourage setting up factories in specific provinces or to build out a domestic charging network.

Edit: to clarify, China does have more car factories than they know what to do with. This is because ICE companies are getting fucked by EV companies. All those factories dedicated to producing ICE cars? Fucked. Idling. Useless. Sales of all cars in China: Volkswagen (-0.2% YoY), Toyota (-3.8% YoY), Honda (-12.3% YoY), Nissan (-14.3% YoY). The only foreign brands that are staying alive in China are EV brands like Tesla (+20% YoY) and luxury cars like BMW (+7.8% YoY) and Audi (+11.3% YoY). These idling ICE factories are currently being closed by the government and the government is limiting licenses handed out for new factories.

Ironically, Tesla is a large part of the reason why Chinese EVs are so cheap because they started the price war... They just couldn't win it.

lorty ,
@lorty@lemmy.ml avatar

Sorry, don't buy their good and cheap EVs, buy our expensive and crappy hybrids.

Badeendje ,
@Badeendje@lemmy.world avatar

Or, Don't let their government funded cheap vehicles kill of your own industry only to price gauge you once they destroyed the competition.

And no, hybrid is not the plan. The aim is full electric in Europe.. per law.

best_username_ever ,

What competition? The expensive EVs that people can’t afford?

Badeendje ,
@Badeendje@lemmy.world avatar

Sure.. we need Evs at half the price point we see currently. The luxury SUV is a cash cow for the carmakers so there is their focus currently.

The cash subsidies was first unlimited, now in the Netherlands it is capped at cars of 50k. Next stage it will be capped at 20k I believe.

The market is being transformed from expensive to cheap. I'm confident we will get there.

And the BYD proposition looks awesome. So I hope something is done. But letting chinese subsidied cars wreak unfeathered havoc should also not be the way to go. Just like string free protection of the European car makers is also not the way to go.

lorty ,
@lorty@lemmy.ml avatar

I understand, it's important to be price gorged locally now rather than being potentially price gorged in the future, perhaps.

Badeendje ,
@Badeendje@lemmy.world avatar

No the European car makers need to make 15 and 20k EVs for sure. But letting your industrial base be atrofied by government funded companies worked well for out pharma industry.. or our solar panel industry.or.. should I go on?

Dependence on china for anything is asking for trouble.

zephyreks ,

Government-funded cheap vehicles... Like Tesla, right?

https://lemmy.ml/pictrs/image/8b9c0e28-66fa-44b3-8b7e-64e24a587655.png

neumast ,

Is there an updated version of this image? There happened a lot in the last 2 years!

zephyreks ,

I mean, how many BYDs do you see on European streets? How many Teslas?

Badeendje ,
@Badeendje@lemmy.world avatar

The issue is with the Chinese owned and operated companies. Not Tesla. Tesla sucks for many other reasons.

zephyreks ,

How much of Chinese exports to Europe are from Chinese owned and operated companies selling Chinese-branded EVs?

dwindling7373 , (edited )

I keep reading about these crazy good affordable impossible to compete against electric Chinese cars.

Like... What models exactly so i can... avoid them?

filcuk ,

I've had a fair amount of time with MG4.
For the cost of £30k, It's been really good so far.

best_username_ever , (edited )

So 3 times the price of my car, that’s affordable.

(Downvoting facts, classic Reddit Lemmy moment)

BastingChemina ,

You have a car that can be find at 10k£ new ?

best_username_ever ,

11 k€ in France, Toyota. Yes. It would be cheaper if it was a second-hand. I’ll pay it with a credit for 5 years. Buying an EV at 20 k€ or 30 k€ would mean a bigger credit with more interest for more than 10 years, and that would be like playing the lottery, not something that I want to do.

filcuk ,

The point is that the vehicle is far cheaper than other EVs from the West with comparable specs.

lnxtx ,
@lnxtx@feddit.nl avatar

Don't produce affordable EVs domestically
surprizedpikachu.jpg

yeahiknow3 ,

The point is that the Chinese EV’s are being heavily subsidized. But we shouldn’t trade with countries that lack labor protections and unions anyway.

Bartsbigbugbag ,

All Chinese companies, public or private, are required to have worker democracy. They have better required benefits than I do in the US, including maternity care, sick time, overtime pay, and a lower retirement age. If you support not trading with the US and India at all, I will acknowledge your consistency, but it seems to me that it’s likely you’re operating off of outdated information.

yeahiknow3 , (edited )

China has an authoritarian capitalist system with more billionaires than the US. They install nets in factories to prevent workers from committing suicide. Wtf?

Bartsbigbugbag ,

Sure it is buddy. Keep rejecting the truth in favor of what the party tells you, works out so well. It is after all their most important demand.

zephyreks ,

We're talking about the same country that blocked railroad workers from striking for daring to request paid sick leave... Right? Under socialist principles, technically the government should enforce a standard for worker care such that individual unions don't need to negotiate with their company - dictatorship of the proletariat and all that. We can debate as to whether that system works, but the lack of unions does not mean a lack of labour protections.

For example, China mandates giving a minimum paid sick leave of 3 months.

Gradually_Adjusting ,
@Gradually_Adjusting@lemmy.world avatar

If airbnbs faced a heavy imposed cost all those years ago, designed to keep them from squeezing out legitimate hotels and causing a real estate bubble, where would we be now, one wonders.

The auto industry has so much better protection than we do.

Neato ,
@Neato@ttrpg.network avatar

Did Airbnb cause hotels to go out of business? I thought they just made it hell to buy it afford a home.

Gradually_Adjusting ,
@Gradually_Adjusting@lemmy.world avatar

A quick search shows that hotel industry analysts do feel the pinch. How could they not, when airbnbs have earned something like $65bn since 2018. That isn't extra spending generated outside of hotel bookings. I can't think of a reason to suppose otherwise.

autotldr Bot ,

This is the best summary I could come up with:


But if the threat from Chinese automakers is so large, why did Great Wall Motor, China's seventh largest car manufacturer, announce last week it was closing its European headquarters in Munich, southern Germany, due to disappointing sales?

The decision sparked speculation about China's ability to compete in the European automotive market and whether the canceled plans were part of Beijing's retaliation against possible EU tariffs or purely for economic reasons.

The lack of traction for Chinese automakers in Europe is made worse when you consider that MG, which has been owned by China's state-owned SAIC Motor since 2007, is still widely perceived as a British brand.

Separate car tracking data of imports rather than sales, reported in the Financial Times, showed that 20% of all electric vehicle deliveries to Europe in the first four months of the year were made in China.

The closure of the Munich headquarters is a major setback for Great Wall, which had previously sought to build its own factory in Europe as part of huge expansion plans for the continent.

Stellantis, the auto giant formed out of Fiat and Peugeot-owner PSA, said last month it had agreed on a joint venture with Chinese carmaker Leapmotor to sell its electric vehicles in Europe.


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