China has also entered the era of the electric car. However, it is their own makers who lead the dance.
In Europe, Chinese manufacturers are beginning to make a remarkable arrival. Some have already started their careers in the Old Continent, such as MG or Lynk & Co. Others will land soon with a very competitive offer, such as Ora and its Electric Cat.
A situation completely opposite to the time when European manufacturers were going to dominate the Chinese market. As for the Middle Kingdom, it is even more extreme, as the market runs the risk of being very complex for traditional brands.
There are many examples of Chinese cars that are no longer considering buying a European vehicle. Reuters interviewed an owner of an Xpeng electric SUV. She reveals that she had not considered a foreign car as she was looking for a “zero emission” vehicle.
“If I had bought a petrol car, I would have considered foreign brands”explains Tianna Cheng. “But I wanted an electric vehicle, and apart from Tesla, I saw few foreign brands that offer smart technologies properly.”.
Foreign manufacturers with absent subscribers
Demand is growing in China, with more than double the number of plug-in electric and hybrid cars sold at the same time last year. These technologies represent an increase of 23%, where the global market has fallen by 12%.
The other main finding of this irruption of electrified cars is, therefore, the difficulty that awaits foreign brands in China. This refers to the future and sales of electric and hybrid cars. In fact, there is only one foreign manufacturer among the top 10 brands in these segments, and it is Tesla in third place.
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And the difference is huge between Elon Musk’s signature and the BYD leader. The latter has sold 390,000 electric vehicles this year, about three times more than Tesla in China.
To find a second foreign manufacturer, you have to go to 15th place in the ranking, with the joint venture between Volkswagen and FAW Group. And traditional manufacturers pay precisely for their traditional side.
Aren’t electric cars revolutionary enough?
Tianna Cheng perfectly represents car buyers in China. At 29, he represents the middle class and works in an office.
According to her, it is the lack of technology and modernity that is wrong with European cars. “Foreign brands are far from my life and lifestyle. »
Young people want to bring their car experience closer to a multimedia experience. She confesses as well as her digital assistant “It does everything for me, from opening windows to playing music”.
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These expectations, which are a bit more futuristic than those of European customers, could go against manufacturers. How to satisfy both markets? Sure, joint ventures can help with that, but the cars that come out of it aren’t model specific.
Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida seems pessimistic about it. According to him, several manufacturers could “disappears in three or five years” in the Chinese market.
Bill Russo, who worked at Chrysler and became an automotive consultant in China, makes the same observation. “Chinese brands are winning the electric car race”says Russo. “I think it’s a secular shift to high-tech, and traditional companies aren’t born high-tech.”