Deloitte: Poland enters the phase of economic expansion

The divergence of economic moods in Poland...

Two Years On: War in Ukraine and Its Global Impact

On February 24, 2022, a full-scale Russian...

European automakers are concerned about the growing competition from Chinese brands

AUTOMOTIVEEuropean automakers are concerned about the growing competition from Chinese brands

Two major Chinese car brands are set to hit the Polish market this year, competing in quality with European manufacturers. According to IBRM Samar data, 533 Chinese-made vehicles were registered in Poland in the first two months of 2024. However, these cars may soon become a more common sight on Polish roads, as several more manufacturers from China have announced their entry into the local market. The sales of Chinese cars, especially electric vehicles, are also increasing in Europe, with projections indicating that their market share could nearly double by 2025. “The quality of products from Chinese manufacturers is significantly better today, which enables them to successfully compete with European manufacturers,” says Wojciech Drzewiecki, President of IBRM Samar.

Observing dealer showrooms, there’s a noticeable increase in interest in Chinese car brands. Previously, these brands were not taken seriously due to the quality of their products, but today it has significantly improved. Some of these brands are also associated with European manufacturers, adding a tradition that attracts customers. “Looking at what’s happening in showrooms, it’s clear that many people are interested in Chinese brands, and there’s a big change in attitude. Whereas in previous years Chinese brands weren’t taken very seriously due to the quality of their products, today it is definitely better. Some of these brands are even associated with European manufacturers, so there is a certain tradition behind them that attracts customers to showrooms,” says Drzewiecki to Newseria Biznes.

The Polish Economic Institute points out that China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of electric vehicles, holding 60% of the global market share in 2022, compared to the EU’s 21% and the USA’s 8%. In Europe, the sales of “made in China” electric vehicles are growing—they currently make up about 8% of new electric car sales, estimated to rise to 15% by 2025.

“Chinese brands are gaining popularity worldwide, and in some markets, they already pose a big problem due to the competition they create for local car manufacturers. In Europe, their share isn’t as large yet, but it’s quickly increasing,” says the President of the Automotive Market Research Institute Samar.

The expansion of Chinese brands like Great Wall Motor, SAIC, and BYD into the European market is aided by government-subsidized loans. Between 2016 and 2022, Beijing provided car manufacturers with approximately 57 billion USD in support. Additionally, lower labor costs, cheaper energy, and high sales volumes allow Chinese manufacturers to benefit from economies of scale and significantly reduce unit costs. This translates into a competitive advantage, primarily reflected in lower prices. Experts indicate that the prices of Chinese car models are about 20% lower than those of European manufacturers. Furthermore, the improved quality also supports their growing popularity. China has become an experienced and innovative producer of EVs, and Chinese cars are no longer seen as cheap knock-offs.

“A Chinese product today is a high-quality product, tailored to the market where it is sold. It is no longer a car people would be reluctant to get into. Chinese manufacturers have done their homework, and the combination of Chinese technical solutions with European design is increasing interest in these cars. The quality of products supplied by Chinese manufacturers is definitely better today, and therefore they successfully compete with European manufacturers,” evaluates Wojciech Drzewiecki. “The offering from Chinese manufacturers is very attractive, and unless limited by legislative actions imposing high tariffs, these cars will sell more and more. This will inevitably force changes in the offerings of European manufacturers because the price differences are indeed significant.”

The expansion of Chinese brands is causing concern among European car manufacturers, especially in Germany and France—the largest producers of electric cars in the EU, whose market shares in the first quarter of 2023 were 22% and 16%, respectively.

“Therefore, the European Union is considering implementing anti-subsidy tariffs on electric vehicles imported from China (due to their subsidized production by the Beijing government), which would result in price increases. Currently, the standard tariff on EVs is 10%, but there are talks that the European Commission plans to raise them to 20% or even 25% (in the United States, the rate is 27.5%). According to a decision by the European Commission since March 7 this year, electric vehicles imported from China must already be registered for customs,” notes the Polish Economic Institute. The sharp reaction of Chinese authorities to the actions of the European Commission suggests that Europe and China may be facing a trade war prospect.

“These fees would reduce the price attractiveness of these cars, thereby significantly reducing their competitiveness. However, I do not think that in Europe there is any thought of blocking Chinese products, i.e., not allowing them to be driven on European roads. Such a blockade could meet with Chinese retaliation, which would limit the opportunities for European manufacturers to sell their products in China. The Chinese market is very attractive to them because of its size,” notes Wojciech Drzewiecki.

Chinese cars are also

becoming visible on the Polish market. At the end of last year, brands like Omoda, Voyah, MG, and Baic, which offer modern, affordable, and well-equipped SUVs, both electric and gasoline-powered, debuted in Poland. However, this is just the beginning of the offensive, as several more manufacturers from China have already announced their presence on the Polish market. This means that “Chinese cars” may soon appear more frequently on Polish roads.

“On the Polish market, there are still few Chinese brands. Their share today is between 3 and 4%. It might seem like a lot, but 98% of this share is consumed only by one brand, Volvo, which has been present in Poland for years. Although its owner is a Chinese company, we perceive it rather as a European, Swedish brand because that’s where the brand originates from,” says the President of the Automotive Market Research Institute Samar. “Two large Chinese brands will enter in the middle of this year, and I think their arrival might spark a revolution.”

According to IBRM Samar data, 533 Chinese brand cars were registered in Poland in the first two months of this year, with three-quarters being vehicles of the MG brand (a brand with British roots taken over by the Chinese in 2007), which found 411 buyers. In the overall ranking of passenger car brands for the first two months of this year, MG was in 27th place, outperforming manufacturers like Mitsubishi, Jeep, and Fiat. The most popular model of the Chinese brand is the more than 4.6 meters long HS model (221 sold units), while the electric model MG4 found 46 buyers— a better result than for electric vehicles from Renault (43) and Toyota (21).

Another Chinese brand that is gradually gaining traction in Poland is BAIC, which currently offers two SUV models but will soon expand its range with more novelties, including a line of off-road vehicles from the BJ series. In the first two months of this year, 88 BAIC brand cars were registered in Poland.

Check out our other content
Related Articles
The Latest Articles