China’s electric vehicles dominate Munich auto show

Sep 8, 2023, 6:28am EDT
China's former science minister Wan Gang talks with President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) Hildegard Mueller at the World New Energy Vehicle Congress during the 2023 Munich Auto Show IAA Mobility in Munich, Germany September 6, 2023. REUTERS/Zoey Zhang
REUTERS/Zoey Zhang
Jenna Moon/

China’s electric vehicles are front-and-center at this year’s IAA Mobility, Germany’s annual auto show, highlighting the stiff competition faced by Europe’s auto manufacturers.

German manufacturers are becoming less competitive than their Chinese counterparts, with many rushing to catch up on creating low-cost electric vehicles. Chinese producers targeted that corner of the market early on, Renault CEO Luca de Meo told Firstpost, adding he expected that costs would decrease for buyers of European brands as manufacturing gets cheaper in the region. Chinese automakers are seeing a 55% sales spike in Europe, and sold 820,000 vehicles collectively in the first seven months of this year.1

German EVs are much more expensive than Chinese-made cars, to the tune of roughly €20,000 ($21,000). Some German companies, including Audi, are deepening their relationships with Chinese firms in an attempt to catch up to their market hold, one auto industry expert told German-language magazine Der Spiegel. "It is awkward not to be represented on the market with good products in the current growth phase," Philipp Kupferschmidt, of consultancy group Accenture, told the publication.2

The auto industry in Germany contracted 3.5% month-over-month in June, The New York Times reported. The industry is typically one of the biggest drivers of the German economy, but it has dragged alongside the overall economy. "I think the Europeans are just pretty much petrified of how the Chinese will perform in Europe," EV analyst Matthias Schmidt told the Times.3 As Germany's economy falters, China's is being bolstered by the thriving EV industry: According to the Global Times, a Chinese state-media outlet, car exports have surged 96% year-over-year.4