The Challenge of Selling Chinese Electric Vehicles in Europe

Chinese electric vehicle (EV) makers are facing a significant challenge when it comes to winning over European consumers who are unfamiliar with and skeptical of their brands. These manufacturers, such as BYD, Xpeng, and Great Wall Motor, are relying on traditional dealership models to build robust sales and service networks and establish reputations for quality and reliability.

However, Chinese EV brands have only captured a small share of the European market, with the bulk of EV sales in the region still dominated by European brands like Volkswagen, Renault, and BMW. Convincing European consumers to choose Chinese EVs over well-known household names will be crucial for these manufacturers to succeed.

The dealerships themselves play a vital role in establishing customer trust and relations. Xpeng Inc.’s Germany manager, Markus Schrick, expressed faith in the power of car dealers and the services they provide as the face of the company to customers.

The EU’s decision to investigate China’s state support of its EV makers could further complicate matters, as it may result in new tariffs on Chinese EV imports. This could impact the competitiveness of Chinese brands in Europe.

To increase brand recognition and expand their reach in Europe, Chinese manufacturers are partnering with rental companies and established car dealer groups. For example, BYD has partnered with Sixt to provide 100,000 EVs through 2028 and has opened 150 stores across Europe. Great Wall Motor has teamed up with Emil Frey, the EU’s largest car dealer group, to distribute its cars. Xpeng is also increasing its number of dealerships to sell its sedan and SUV models.

While the European market has seen new entrants in the past, the shift to EVs presents unprecedented opportunities for Chinese brands. Tesla’s success has shown that consumers are open to outsiders, but it remains to be seen if Chinese brands can match the marketing draw of Elon Musk. China’s control of the battery supply chain gives it an advantage in expanding its share of the European market.

However, challenges remain. The number of car dealerships in Germany has decreased, and the trend towards online sales is expected to continue. Chinese EV manufacturers will need to navigate these changes while also convincing dealers to partner with them.

The future success of Chinese EV brands in Europe will depend on how well they perform in the next two years. Market share could range from 5% to 20% by the end of the decade, but whether they can replicate Tesla’s success is uncertain.


– Bloomberg

– Definitions: European Union, electric vehicles, dealership model, BYD, Xpeng, Great Wall Motor, reputation, EV makers, market share, brand recognition, Volkswagen, Renault, BMW, tariffs, brand recognition