Chinese Attractions - Trends-Tendances on PC

Chinese Attractions – Trends-Tendances on PC

Electric cars are expensive, very expensive. Chinese manufacturers could make them more accessible, as shown by the breakthrough in Belgium of MG, a brand of the SAIC group. The trend should develop. At least if geopolitics does not get involved…

The air of nothing, Chinese cars trace their route in Europe. In Belgium, the MG brand, built by SAIC Motor, a group based in Shanghai, exceeds the success of esteem. This year, it registered 523 cars between January and July. Especially electric ones.

The air of nothing, Chinese cars trace their route in Europe. In Belgium, the MG brand, built by SAIC Motor, a group based in Shanghai, exceeds the success of esteem. This year, it registered 523 cars between January and July. Especially electric ones. “We could arrive at 1,600 registrations over the year and sell 4,000 to 5,000 cars per year within two or three years”, advances Bart Hendrickx, spokesperson for the brand in Belgium, at the importer Astara. Enough to be in the top 20. It’s a famous turnaround. Until now, Chinese models were hardly expected in Europe. But the perception towards them has changed with the development of electrification. The country has become the champion of this type of motorization. Its builders have developed recognized expertise in this area. A few major start-ups are developing there (NIO, XPeng). Since mid-2018, NIO has produced 227,949 vehicles, following in Tesla’s footsteps. The world’s largest battery manufacturer, CATL, is Chinese and in high demand. Several premium Western brands are supplied there (Tesla, BMW, Daimler). Crucial crash test The MG brand has been distributed for three years in Belgium and neighboring countries. She is well received. Leasing companies include its models in their catalogs. The tests published in the specialized press are rather positive and its vehicles pass the crash test. Thus the MG ZS EV SUV, recently the brand’s best-selling model, won five Euro NCAP stars for its passive safety. The argument is mainly financial. A new Hyundai Kona or VW ID.3 sells for at least 44,000 euros, the same for a Renault Megane e-Tech. But the recently launched MG5 break is marketed from 34,585 euros, with honest benefits even if they do not equal those of the models mentioned above. It’s not low cost, but for an electric car, the price is attractive. It is at least 5,000 euros below the European or Korean competing models. MG aligns its vehicles when the electric market takes off in Belgium. This represents 8.9% of registrations over the first six months of 2022 (5.9% over the same period in 2021). This logic should develop, provided that geopolitics and the crisis with Taiwan do not stop everything. The first model sold by MG, Chinese version, was a hybrid SUV but all the new models are electric: the ZS EV SUV (the first electric station wagon on the market), the MG5 (a large SUV), the MG Marvel. Sales should accelerate with the arrival by the end of the year of the compact MG4 model, which is exactly aimed at the VW ID.3, Cupra Born, Renault Megane market, at a price that should be much lower , around 30,000 euros. Note that cars made in China are already more present in Europe than one might imagine. First, because several Western manufacturers manufacture cars there: for example Tesla (Model 3), Renault (Dacia Spring) and BMW (SUV X3). As for the Chinese group Geely, it has perfected subtle marketing to reach Western audiences. It acquired Volvo and developed joint bases for electrified vehicles under various Chinese and European brands. As a result, the customer no longer really knows where the car comes from. Two new brands, Polestar and Lynk&Co, are thus developing with a European image and Chinese manufacturing. For Smart, the joint venture between Geely and Daimler will soon launch the Smart#1, a compact SUV, made in China with a European name. Several reasons are pushing Chinese manufacturers towards Europe. Their technology is mature and competitive, and the European potential is significant. “The international success of battery manufacturers like CATL serves as a model for manufacturers of Chinese electric cars,” writes the Berlin-based Mercator Institute for China Studies, which is even sounding the alarm about the threat that the influx of Chinese cars weighs on the industry of the Old Continent in a study entitled In the driver’s seat: China’s electric vehicle makers target Europe. Alongside the first successes of MG, other Chinese brands are also starting with us, but with more difficulty. In Belgium, the start-up Aiways only registered 25 cars from January to July. It’s a question of model, marketing and distribution all at the same time. MG has resorted to the traditional approach, via an importer, Astara, ex-Alcomotive, which also imports Hyundai, Suzuki, Maxus (electric light commercial vehicles of the SAIC group), and dealerships. “We have about thirty points of sale in Belgium, specifies Bart Hendrickx. Proximity remains a crucial point for the Belgian customer.” Originally, SAIC wanted to sell MG only online, which was risky. After MG, other major brands should follow: NIO and BYD, in particular. The Chinese generally arrive first in Norway, a pilot market for electric cars, then in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Sales are driven by public aid: subsidies, reduced or zero road tax, more favorable tax deduction. In France, the ecological bonus of 6,000 euros allows you to buy an MG5 there for 26,990 euros. NIO hopes to sell its battery-swap charging approach to Europeans. The brand has built more than 1,000 power swap stations in China and plans to build 20 in Norway this year. It is building a factory in Hungary to supply the European market with stations. The arrival of cheaper electric vehicles is welcome, especially in Belgium where there is no purchase subsidy. Individuals are reluctant, representing only 10% of sales. The bulk is acquired by companies, which can deduct an electric automobile at 100% (vs. 67.5% for an average fuel-powered car). At MG, however, individuals already account for 30% of purchases. A share that could increase further with the arrival of smaller, cheaper models. That said, it is not enough to announce models, they must also be delivered. MG has been able to maintain reasonable lead times but they are getting longer because covid has disrupted production and shortages are also affecting China. “The overall demand is very large, no one can keep up, regrets Bart Hendrickx. The standard was two to three months for the ZS EV. For large battery versions, you have to add two to four months”


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