Zeekr X was exhibited at the Guangzhou Motor Show last November. Stringer/Anadolu, via Getty Images
Chinese automakers are terrorizing car companies around the world.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk: “If trade barriers are not established, most car companies in the world will go out of business.” Said Investors last month. “They are very good.”
Tesla was recently overtaken in global electric car sales by China’s BYD, backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
Some of China’s better electric cars are generating interest among wealthy car buyers in other countries, including in small countries where they are not yet officially sold. This opens the door for individual traders who can take advantage of loopholes and be more nimble than automakers.
as Rest of the world report, such companies register their vehicles in China before shipping them to enthusiasts overseas, such as Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia. The vehicle is then technically a used car and no permission from the car manufacturer is required in this case.
Through this vehicle, overseas buyers obtain trendy Chinese EVs that are often seen as status symbols, including high-end models from BYD, Li Auto, and Zeekr (Geely’s premium EV brand). Of course, you will pay a premium to do so and may face difficulties with repairs if the automaker itself has not yet established a local presence.
“Chinese cars are becoming very popular,” said a car exporter in northern China’s Hebei province. Rest of the World. “The big screen, the interactive features, the hidden door handles, the voice controls, the massage chair, all of these things are very appealing.”
Indeed, what this gray market satisfies is a desire for more attractive Chinese models rather than ultra-affordable ones. And of course, the gray market will lose its purpose over time as Chinese automakers establish operations in more and more countries.
However, the high desire and awareness for such models among buyers in far-flung countries speaks to the ability of Chinese automakers to compete at both the high and low ends of the market.
Musk himself laughed about the quality of BYD cars in 2011, but has recently suggested that the Chinese company would emerge as a dominant player in the global auto industry.
Last summer, Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford Jr. warned that the U.S. automaker was “not yet ready” to compete with Chinese rivals in electric vehicles. “It was developed very quickly, it was developed on a large scale, and now it’s being exported,” he told CNN. “They’re not here, but we think they’ll be here at some point, and we need to be prepared.”