Great Chinese invasion is set to electrify the market

The electric car market is hotting up here and China is going to have a big say sooner rather than later. Intense competition in the Chinese electric vehicle market, combined with slowing economic growth there, has resulted in a price war in their massive domestic market.

This is driving a change in production planning an over-flow of suitable car stocks at a faster rate into European markets. In addition to being the largest market globally for new cars, China will also soon overtake Japan as the world’s biggest exporter of cars; it only recently passed Germany in that order.

The established brands such as Volkswagen Group (VW, Audi, Skoda, Cupra, and others including Porsche); the Korean giants (Hyundai and Kia); Renault & Nissan; Mercedes-Benz; BMW; Stellantis (Peugeot, Opel, Citroen, FIAT, Jeep, etc.); and Ford; etc. Then you have the more recent all-electric success story that is Tesla.

However, there is much more to come with new Chinese brands entering the already highly competitive market every quarter. The number already selling vehicles in Ireland and the UK is set to go from a trickle to a flood.

Early arrivals including MG (Frank Keane Holdings) and Maxus (Harris Group, with recent arrivals Great Wall Motor’s Ora (International Motors Group) and BYD – Build Your Dreams (Motor Distributors).

All the current indicators are that BYD could be the standard-bearer that they will all end up being compared to – its Atto 3 SUV has just been launched here, too.

The BYD Atto 3

We have also already seen the influence of Geely Auto Group, owner of Volvo, and through that avenue, creating Swedish-based Polestar as well as Lynk and Co. They also own Lotus Group, Proton, LEVC (London Black Taxis and vans), ZEEKR, a new electric premium electric brand. In 2020, Mercedes-Benz and the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group formed a joint venture for the smart brand.

Another major manufacturer, the Chery Group will debut here in Q1 next year with its futuristic export brand – called ‘Omoda’. Their website features an impressive futuristic fastback crossover. In fact, all Omoda models are SUVs. The launch mid-size model will be available with a choice of petrol (1.5 litre) or all-electric. A large SUV will then be added in right-hand drive at the end of next year, with a compact SUV in 2025. Both will be all-electric only.

Chery claims to be China’s largest car manufacturer and its biggest exporter too. Chery Group will launch in the UK and Ireland next year under a separate subsidiary brand called Omoda. It already exports Omoda cars to South America and South Africa. The plan is to sell through dealerships but our sources say that customers will have the option of buying online or via the dealership.

Others on the horizon include Nio, a Chinese brand that favours battery-swapping stations for its vehicles, as an alternative to conventional charging stations.

The next 18 months is going to see very many electric vehicle propositions arriving for China and elsewhere for Irish customers. We will attempt to keep you informed first on this changing tide, as we have always done to date.