Chinese EV makers aim to sell cars in America – Capital.com
As China’s electric vehicle manufacturers aim for global domination, experts agree the next step is moving into the American market.
Chinese EV makers have expanded into Europe recently and market analysts expect the cars will be in the US in the near future.
“I’d imagine it’s only a matter of time before we see more Chinese vehicles being sold in North America,” Morningstar analyst Seth Goldstein told Capital.com in an interview.
“Given that EVs are a new powertrain, this (type of vehicle) is an opportunity for Chinese automakers to establish brands in new geographies where, for years, with the internal-combustion engine (ICE), Chinese automakers tended to only sell vehicles in China.”
“Now that the playing field is more level for everyone, this is an opportunity for (Chinese EV makers) to start selling cars in North America,” said Goldstein.
EV engines level playing field
The playing field is more level, he added, because all automakers are developing new powertrain technologies, versus using existing ICE powertrain engineering expertise.
The US had a huge head-start on China when it came to conventional auto production. China did not start producing vehicles for consumers until the mid-1950s while the US began doing so in the early 1900s.
“In addition to producing ICEs later, many Chinese automakers either made vehicles that were more specific to the Chinese market, such as smaller passenger cars, or entered into joint-ventures with existing automakers, which limited their ability to sell those vehicles outside of China,” said Goldstein.
China world’s largest EV maker
China ranks as the world’s largest EV manufacturer. At this point, most Chinese EV makers will attempt to expand into the US through exports.
Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely (Geely) could be an exception. Geely also owns Volvo and produces the Polestar SUV in China in conjunction with the Swedish automaker. Geely plans to produce the Polestar 3 at the Volvo plant in South Carolina in the US, the company announced last year.
“North America is in our plan for the next step, that will happen after 2022.” ~ Geely CEO An Conghui told Bloomberg TV in April 2021.
Geely also produces the Zeekr sedan, which could be sold in the US. Geely is also developing self-driven Zeekr EVs built in China with Waymo – the American autonomous driving technology development company – that are now being tested in San Francisco, California.
Zeekr will be sold in select European markets in early 2023, according to CnEVPost, which reports on the new energy vehicle industry in China.
EV motorcoaches in Santa Barbara
Another Chinese automaker, BYD Auto, operates an electric bus manufacturing plant in Lancaster, California. BYD sold electric motorcoaches to Santa Barbara County – a local government in the Los Angeles area – and the fleet of buses made their public debut earlier this month. But BYD does not yet make electric cars in the US.
Sales-wise, the US will be a difficult market for Chinese EV makers to enter, according to The New York Times, because former president Donald Trump’s administration imposed a 25% tax in 2018 on cars imported from China. Many electric car parts are covered by the same tariffs.
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