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Factbox-Chinese EV makers set sights on European production

Published 05/10/2024, 09:30 AM
Updated 05/10/2024, 09:36 AM
© Reuters. Robotic arms assemble cars in the production line for Leapmotor's electric vehicles at a factory in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, China, April 26, 2023. China Daily via REUTERS/File photo
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(Reuters) -Some Chinese carmakers are looking to set up manufacturing and assembly plants in Europe as they aim to ramp up sales of lower-cost cars in the region to rival their European competitors amid slowing demand at home.

European imports of Chinese-made electric vehicles (EVs) have soared in recent years, raising concerns among domestic EV producers that they could suffer significant losses from a wave of cheap Chinese electric vehicles.

The EU has launched an anti-subsidy probe into EV imports from China, the world's largest car market.

Here are details of plans by Chinese EV makers to invest in Europe:

CHERY AUTO

Chery Auto, China's largest automaker by export volume, announced on April 16 that it has signed a joint venture with Spain's EV Motors to open its first European manufacturing site in Catalonia.

Production is set to start later this year, with junior partner Chery producing its Omoda vehicles at the plant. Majority stakeholder EV Motors will start producing its own vehicles in the fourth quarter, the Spanish company said.

The carmaker is also considering building a car factory in Britain this decade, the Financial Times has reported.

BYD (SZ:002594)

The world's largest EV maker BYD announced in late 2023 that it will build its first European electric vehicle production base in Hungary. The plant will produce EVs and plug-in hybrids for the European market and is set to start operating in three years, the company said in January.

The biggest Chinese rival to Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been present in the country since 2016, when it established an electric bus assembling unit in the city of Komarom in northwest Hungary.

BYD will also consider building a second assembly plant in Europe in 2025, its European managing director Michael Shu said at the FT's Future of the Car conference on Thursday.

LEAPMOTOR

China's Leapmotor (HK:9863) partnered with Stellantis (NYSE:STLA) last year, and Reuters reported it will start producing small EVs at Stellantis' Tychy plant in Poland after receiving a green light from the Chinese government for a joint venture.

Stellantis sees the first delivery of cars built with Leapmotor by the year-end, CEO Carlos Tavares told shareholders in April.

SAIC MOTOR

State-owned SAIC, China's second-largest auto exporter with its MG-branded cars, is looking for a site in Europe to set up an EV production plant.

SAIC already has a European parts centre for its MG Motors unit in Amsterdam and plans to open a second facility in France to meet the country's growing demand for its vehicles, the company said in March.

XPENG

Chinese electric vehicle maker XPeng (NYSE:XPEV)'s co-president Brian Gu said at the Beijing autoshow that an ongoing European probe into Chinese-made EVs and regulatory changes could steer the firm to invest in plants or suppliers abroad, as the spectre of higher tariffs looms.

GEELY

© Reuters. Robotic arms assemble cars in the production line for Leapmotor's electric vehicles at a factory in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, China, April 26, 2023. China Daily via REUTERS/File photo

In 2022, a Polish state-led venture to produce the country's first electric car, known as Izera, signed a licence agreement with China's Geely Holding to build the country's first EV plant.

The plan, approved by Poland's previous administration, was put on hold as the new government is finalising a revision of the spending plan for Brussels, but is to be decided by the summer, a senior European Union official told Reuters.

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