Li_DanLi_Dan ・ Jun. 5, 2024
China-Made EV Exports to Europe Jump 23% Despite EU Tariff Risk
The export surge did not remain intact. Chinese EV exports to the EU plunging 19.6% year-over-year in January and February, Chinese customs data showed.

TMTPost --  China-made electric vehicle (EV) exports to Europe record double-digit growth despite mounting risk of the European Union’s tariff hike.

Credit:Xinhua News Agency

Credit:Xinhua News Agency

Around 119,300 EVs made in China were registered in Western Europe including the United Kingdom from January to April, jumping 23% year-over-year (YoY), according to data from Schmidt Automotive Research, a Germany institution that engages in European auto market data intelligence and analysis. The export volume in the first four months accounted for one fifth of the overall exports in the region. 54% out of them were vehicles under brands from European and Japanese automakers along with Tesla Inc., and the rest were Chinese branded EVs.

“[Carmakers] keep churning out vehicles from China as it gives the best opportunity to make a profit on an electrical vehicle at the moment,” Matthias Schmidt, the founder of Schmidt Automotive Research, told the Financial Times.

However, the export surge seems not remain intact. Just 116,100 new Chinese-brand passenger cars were registered in Western Europe, representing a mere 2.9% of the region’s total new car market in the opening four months,  Schmidt Automotive Research estimated. China exported over 75,600 EVs to the EU’s 27 member states in January and February, plunging 19.6% from a year ago, Chinese customs data released in March showed.

The EU auto imports from China could be impacted further as the bloc is closer to decide whether to raise tariffs on Chinese EVs.   

The EU officially launched an investigation into EVs from China on October 4 2023.The European Commission is set to decide whether to impose tariffs more than the current 10% standard rate for cars within 13 months once the investigation started. The possible tariff will affect not just Chinese automakers but also foreign brands that produce vehicles there such as Tesla, Renault and BMW. The probe may result in tariffs close to the 27.5% level already imposed by the U.S. on Chinese EVs, Bloomberg reported last September.

The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyenan suggested last month she would diverge from the U.S. on tariffs. “We share some of the concerns of our [US] counterparts but we have a different approach, a much more tailored approach,” von der Leyen said two weeks ago. Head of the EU’s main executive body stressed should a months-long EU investigation be confirmed Chinese subsidies exist, she can guarantee the level of the duties EU would impose is correspondent to the level of damage.

Heads of European auto giants and Tesla expressed their opposition to new tariffs on Chinese EVs.  Tesla CEO Elon Musk criticized the latest levies for its distortion of the auto market. Stellantis NV CEO Carlos Tavares called tariffs on Chinese cars imported to U.S. and Europe “a major trap on the countries that go on the path”, which will not allow Western automakers to avoid restructuring to meet the challenge from lower cost Chinese manufacturers. 

Reuters learned last week that the European Commission will delay its decision on Chinese EV tariffs until after the European Parliament election on June 9. The new deadline of the provisional tariffs, which were expected to be announced by June 5, is said to be June 10, the day after results of the European Parliament election are released.

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