China has also entered the era of the electric car. However, it is their own producers who lead the dance.
In Europe, Chinese manufacturers are starting to make a noticeable arrival. Some have already started their careers on the old continent, like MG or Lynk & Co. Others will soon land with a very competitive offering, such as the Ora and its electric Cat.
A situation quite the opposite at a time when European producers were to dominate the Chinese market. As for the Middle Kingdom, it is even more extreme as the market risks being very complex there for traditional brands.
There are more and more examples of Chinese drivers 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 when 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 offering smart technologies properly”.
Foreign producers with absent subscribers
This demand is growing in China, as more than double the number of electric cars and plug-in hybrids sold at the same time last year at the beginning of the year. These technologies represent an increase of 23%, with the overall market declining by 12%.
The second major finding of this emergence of electrified cars is therefore the difficulty that awaits foreign brands in China. It is about the future and the sale of electric and hybrid cars. In fact, there is only one foreign manufacturer among the top 10 brands in these segments, and that is Tesla in third place.
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And the gap is huge between firm Elon Musk and leader BYD. The latter has sold 390,000 electric cars this year, about three times more than Tesla in China.
To find another foreign manufacturer, go to 15th place in the ranking with the joint venture between Volkswagen and FAW Group. And the traditional producers pay just their traditional side.
Electric cars not revolutionary enough?
Tianna Cheng perfectly represents car buyers in China. As a 29-year-old, she represents the middle class and works in an office.
According to her, it is the lack of technology and modernity that sins in European cars. “Foreign brands are far from my life and my lifestyle. »
The young audience wants to bring their experience of the car closer to a multimedia experience. She confesses as well as her digital assistant “do everything for me, from opening windows to playing music”.
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These expectations, which are a little more futuristic than those of European customers, can bring manufacturers into conflict. How to satisfy both markets? Yes, joint ventures can help with that, but the cars that come out of it are not model specific.
Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida seems pessimistic about this. According to him, several manufacturers could “disappears in three to five years” in the Chinese market.
Bill Russo, who worked at Chrysler and converted to a car consultant in China, makes the same observation. “Chinese brands win race for electric car”says Russo. “I think it’s a secular shift to high technology, and traditional companies are not born as high technology.”