European brands facing ‘terrible fight’ amidst influx of new Chinese firms, says Stellantis boss

  • Stellantis boss issues warning over future of European carmakers
  • Carlos Tavares says influx of cheaper Chinese brands could see sales drain away
  • CEO is calling on politicians to step in to help firms and warns of ‘significant consequences’

Time 9:04 am, January 9, 2023

European car manufacturers are facing a ‘terrible fight’ to keep sales high amidst an influx of new brands from China, the boss of Stellantis has warned.

In recent years a number of start ups from Asia have began to transition into the European market with cheaper alternatives to the well-established names.

Stellantis CEO, Carlos Tavares, says the situation has left Europe’s automotive industry at a crossroads and has called for assistance from politicians.

He says that, if help is not forthcoming, there could be ‘significant consequences’ and ‘unpopular decisions’ ahead.

‘The price difference between European and Chinese vehicles is significant,’ the 64-year-old told last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

‘If nothing is changed in the current situation, European customers from the middle class will increasingly turn to Chinese models. The purchasing power of many people in Europe is decreasing noticeably.’

He added: ‘If you keep the European market open, then we have no choice: we have to fight the Chinese directly. And that applies to the entire automotive value chain.

‘Ultimately, this challenge is akin to squaring the circle. In the current context, if nothing is done in the European Union, there will be a terrible fight.’

Among the largest of the Chinese entrants into the European market has been EV outfit GWM Ora.

Backed in the UK by IM Group, the firm has already signed up Peter Vardy, Lookers and Wessex Garages to its books and intends to increase the size of its network in line with growing customer interest.

Last year, it also announced plans for a further dozen dealers, and is hoping to have a total of 16 by the end of 2023.

Main image: Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, with former business secretary Greg Clarke

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Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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