EU to Probe BYD, Geely, SAIC in Electric Vehicle Inquiry – Insider

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The European Commission is set to conduct on-site inspections at major Chinese automakers, including BYD, Geely, and SAIC, as part of a 13-month-long investigation launched in October. The probe aims to assess whether Chinese-made electric vehicles (EVs) enjoy unfair advantages from state subsidies, leading to potential punitive tariffs. The tensions between the European Union and China have heightened, with China labeling the investigation as protectionist.

Companies Under Scrutiny: The investigators will exclusively visit BYD, Geely, and SAIC, avoiding non-Chinese brands produced in China, such as Tesla, Renault, and BMW. The inquiry seeks to determine if the lower prices of Chinese-made EVs are a result of state subsidies, escalating trade tensions between Beijing and the EU.

Confirmation and Inspection Details: The European Commission has confirmed the upcoming verification visits, scheduled for January-February 2024. Olof Gill, European Commission Spokesperson for Trade, emphasized that a representative sample of Chinese and EU producers had responded to questionnaires, and the Commission would carry out thorough on-site inspections.

Chinese Response and Market Impact: China’s commerce ministry, BYD, and SAIC have not responded immediately to requests for comments. Geely, while declining to comment, reiterated its adherence to laws and support for fair market competition. The investigation coincides with China’s anti-dumping probe on brandy from the EU, seemingly targeting France, a supporter of the EV investigation. Chinese-made vehicles have gained an 8% share in the EU’s EV market, with a potential rise to 15% in 2025, selling at a 20% discount compared to EU-made models.

Global Implications and Industry Dynamics: Against a backdrop of strained EU-China relations, influenced by geopolitical factors and China’s closer ties with Moscow, the EU aims to reduce dependence on China. Meanwhile, Chinese EV manufacturers, including market-leader BYD, Xpeng, and Nio, are intensifying efforts to expand overseas. Many are prioritizing sales to Europe, where China is poised to become the world’s largest auto exporter, shipping 5.26 million vehicles valued at about $102 billion in the past year.

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