Voiture électrique: les marques chinoises grignotent des parts de marché en Europe

Voiture électrique: les marques chinoises grignotent des parts de marché en Europe

Chinese automakers sold as many cars in Europe between January and June as they did last year, the vast majority of which are electric. Attractive prices allow them, in particular, to win over customers.

Renault, Peugeot but also BYD. The Chinese automaker, which counts Warren Buffett among its shareholders, will be present at the Paris Motor Show in October, a first for the Paris show but underlining an underlying trend. Thanks to rising sales of electric cars in Europe, Chinese brands are slowly eating up market share on the continent.

As many cars in six months as all of last year

According to figures from Inovev, in the first half of the year, 75,000 vehicles of Chinese brands were registered in Europe, the vast majority 100% electric, almost as much as all sales of these same brands last year (80,000 copies). If the Volkswagen Group (124,000 vehicles) or Stellantis (114,000) dominate the market for battery cars, according to Inovev, Geely and MG do more than offset the numbers. The former, in particular the owner of Volvo and Lynk & Co, has thus registered 26,000 vehicles. The historic British brand MG, now owned by the SAIC group, has launched several models in recent months, including the Marvel R SUV, and has sold 18,000 new cars in the European market. And this, while remaining confidential to the general public.

“Customers who buy this type of car are mainly attracted by lower prices than European electric vehicles in the same segment, even lower than Korean electric vehicles, specifies Inovev in its publication. This customer feels discouraged by the prices excessively high Europeans. Manufacturers (and now Koreans) favor margin over volume, which leaves an entire sector of the market (for cheaper cars) at the mercy of Chinese manufacturers.”

much cheaper models

Consulting the manufacturers’ sites, the price difference varies from one to two bonds (6000 euros) for an equivalent model. Excluding bonuses, the ZS, MG’s compact SUV, starts at €30,990 when the Peugeot e-2008 sees its first price at €37,200. And the Volkswagen ID.4, certainly much larger, starts at 43,000 euros. Or the equivalent of two bonds to add. Aside from the Dacia Spring (produced in China by Renault), there are few affordable models among Western generalists to tackle the second-largest domestic car market. Therefore, Chinese manufacturers have a place to occupy in Europe. This is what Roland Berger anticipates in a study published at the end of July.

“Chinese manufacturers should reach one million electric vehicles sold in Europe in 2025, details Olivier Hanoulle, partner specialized in the automobile of this firm. Based on a global market of 20 million cars registered in the continent, including 15% of electric cars, the Chinese manufacturers would keep a third of the shares of the latter market.

The four main Chinese manufacturers, SAIC, Great Wall, Chang’An and Geely, could thus achieve significant market shares in the old continent, on their way to zero emissions. According to the firm’s estimates, the Geely group could thus reach 42% of its sales outside China in Europe in 2025, with 252,000 registered cars.

MG announced on Friday August 5 that it was opening reservations in France for its new model announced in the fall, the MG4.
MG announced on Friday August 5 that it was opening reservations in France for its new model announced in the fall, the MG4. © MG Motors

Find new outlets

These forecasts, paradoxically, take into account the state of its increasingly mature domestic market. “The Chinese auto market has reached the end of its high-speed growth. To continue to develop, Chinese manufacturers have no choice but to go out and find growth engines outside of China. Europe and ASEAN, Southeast Asia, are their main points of sale”, continues Olivier Hanoulle.

All with a performance in terms of autonomy or recharging time similar to that of the French, German or even Korean models. “Chinese brands acquired skills in electric vehicles very early, they do not have the technological backwardness that they had with the thermal engine,” says Olivier Hanoulle. They also don’t have a supply problem because they produce their own components.” As McKinsey reminds us, Chinese manufacturers have other national champions in the field of batteries as partners, enough to gain in competitiveness.

The changes in the European market also help the new brands. Lynk&Co, for example, sold nearly 1,000 cars to short-term rental companies in the first half of the year in France. Enough to start making yourself known to the general public without necessarily having to go through a dealer network.

If MG is multiplying its points of sale -142 active distribution points according to motorsactu at the beginning of July-, other brands can count on an increasingly strong movement among consumers: buy online without even seeing or trying the vehicle. The broker Aramis had sold cars from the Chinese manufacturer Aiways directly online a few months ago. “You can create a brand in Europe if there is competitiveness”, sums up Olivier Hanoulle. What BYD intends to achieve by leaving the bags at the Mondial de l’Automobile in October.

paulina ducamp

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