Electric Vehicles

EU Investigators in China to Probe EV-Makers BYD, Geely, SAIC

 

European Commission investigators are preparing to swoop on Chinese automakers as part of the bloc’s probe into Beijing’s controversial support for its EV vehicle firms.

The inspectors will visit BYD, Geely and SAIC, two sources said, with one of them saying the investigators will not visit non-Chinese brands produced in China, such as Tesla, Renault and BMW.

The probe, launched in October and scheduled to last 13 months, seeks to determine whether cheaper, Chinese-made EVs benefit unfairly from state subsidies. Called protectionist by China, the investigation has escalated tensions between Beijing and the EU.

 

Also on AF: Ship Attacks Will Continue, Houthis Vow After US, UK Strikes

 

The European Commission, China’s commerce ministry, BYD and SAIC did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Geely declined to comment but cited its October statement that the company followed all laws and supported fair market competition globally.

One source said the investigators have arrived in China, while another said visits are scheduled for this month and February.

The visits are for verification work – on-site inspections checking responses the automakers gave to questionnaires – one source said. European Commission documents for the probe say it is in the “initiation stage”, with verification visits due by April 11.

Last week, China opened an anti-dumping investigation on brandy imported from the European Union, a step that appeared targeted at France, which backs the EV probe. Popular Chinese models exported to Europe include SAIC’s MG and Geely’s Volvo.

 

Strained Sino-EU Relations

Chinese-made vehicles’ share of the European Union’s EV market has risen to 8% and could reach 15% in 2025, with these EVs typically selling for 20% less than EU-made models.

In October, China’s Great Wall Motor said it was the first automaker to submit responses to the EU subsidy investigation.

Relations between China and the EU have been strained by factors including Beijing’s closer ties with Moscow after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The EU is seeking to reduce its reliance on the world’s second-largest economy, particularly for materials and products needed for its green transition.

At the same time Chinese EV makers, from market-leader BYD to smaller rivals Xpeng and Nio, are stepping up efforts to expand overseas as competition intensifies at home and domestic growth eases. Many have made sales to Europe a priority.

China is estimated to have overtaken Japan as the world’s largest auto exporter last year, shipping 5.26 million vehicles valued at about $102 billion, a Chinese auto association said this week.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara

 

Read more:

Chinese Car Exports to EU Seen Hit by Red Sea Ship Attacks

EU Leaders Meet Xi in Beijing Amid Concern on Trade Imbalance

EU’s China Steel Subsidy Review ‘is Against Global Trade Norms’

Beijing ‘Very Dissatisfied’ at EU Probe Into China’s EV Subsidies

 

 

Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.

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