Chinese cars "made in Germany"? - Car congress starts in Zwickau

Chinese car manufacturers want to put more of their vehicles on the road outside their home market. This will probably not stop there. In the future, they could create thousands of jobs by building factories in Germany and Europe.

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Man sieht Menschen bei der Auto- und Verkehrsmesse.
A vehicle at the BYD stand, photographed at the IAA auto and transport trade fair in Munich. © Uwe Lein/dpa

Zwickau/ChemnitzChinese car manufacturers such as BYD and SAIC According to car expert Werner Olle, car manufacturers will soon follow the example of Tesla's and build plants in Europe. Germany has a very good chance of being chosen as the location for a new car factory, said the researcher from the Chemnitz Automotive Institutes the German Press Agency.

It is true that energy costs in Germany are high. "But the most important criterion is the high level of automotive expertise." This includes the close network of suppliers and the potential of skilled workers. Chinese cars "made in Germany" are a quality issue for manufacturers and an important image factor.

According to Olle, China's car exports have increased significantly since 2021. Europe is increasingly coming into focus as a target market. "From 2025, China will become a net exporter, while Europe will become a net importer." This is because China has competitive advantages when it comes to the increasingly important e-cars. According to Olle, these include the size of the Chinese market, which enables corresponding cost advantages, as well as the availability of important parts - from raw materials to batteries and semiconductors.

Mass market as an opportunity

After the Chinese manufacturers dominated their own market for e-cars, entering foreign markets was the next logical step, explained Olle. They are still at the beginning here. However, strong growth is expected in the coming years. For example, manufacturers are working intensively on setting up sales and service locations in Germany. They are also occupying the high-volume market segments for electric cars that European manufacturers have previously neglected. "This is a huge opportunity for Chinese manufacturers."

The next step is to set up our own production facilities abroad, explained Olle. "This step will follow in the next two to three years in order to secure and expand this market position as sales figures continue to rise on foreign markets." Several manufacturers have concrete plans. He named SAIC, BYD and Great Wall Motors. At BYD, a decision on a new plant in Europe could be made by the end of the year, said Olle.

Nio speaks of European factory

The manufacturer Nio had been on the Automobile fair IAA announced in September that it would go one step further. If sales reach the 100,000 vehicle mark, a factory in Europe could be profitable, explained European head Hui Zhang.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, automotive experts and representatives of manufacturers and suppliers will meet in Zwickau for the "Automotive Forum" to discuss strategies. In addition to production facilities of the major manufacturers Volkswagen, BMW and Porsche there are many supplier companies in Saxony. However, the industry is undergoing a profound transformation towards electromobility. The Volkswagen factory in Zwickau, which specializes in e-cars, is struggling with weak demand. (dpa)

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