Franchised dealers back Chinese disruptors to make a big impact on the UK new car market

  • Carwow’s network of franchised dealer partners give their thoughts on new wave of Chinese EV brands
  • Majority back new names to make a significant impact on the new car market over the coming years
  • Price set to be the biggest motivator for buyers deciding to purchase Chinese vehicles

Time 8:16 am, August 10, 2023

Franchised dealers are backing the new wave of Chinese EV brands to make a big impact on the UK car market over the coming years.

A poll of retailers conducted by Carwow found that industry insiders are expecting the likes of BYD and GWM Ora to establish a foothold in the new car market sooner rather than later.

Analysis of the data found that dealers are anticipating modest progress at first but believe the popularity of Chinese bands is only set to rise.

The survey asked Carwow’s dealer partners: ‘What proportion of UK car sales do you think Chinese OEMs will take over the next 12 months’.

The majority (68 per cent) said that the new entrants would account for up to ten per cent of the new car market within the next year, with a further 25 per cent saying that share is likely to be 11-20 per cent.

When the same question was asked regarding longer-term prospects for Chinese OEMs, a third (33 per cent) predicted that they would secure 21-30 per cent of UK new car sales within five years, while a similar amount (32 per cent) said they would claim between 11-20 per cent.

Meanwhile, a further fifth (21 per cent) said they expected the disruptors to have a ten per cent market share.

Just 13 per cent of respondents told the survey that they do not think Chinese brands will be successful in the UK.

According to 96 per cent of dealers, price competitiveness is likely to be the biggest motivator in buyers turning to Chinese brands, well ahead of vehicle technologies, which 35 per cent of dealers also cited.

The top three factors deemed by dealers most likely to put people off Chinese cars were potential concerns around build quality (75 per cent), lack of brand familiarity (57 per cent) and limited aftersales support (56 per cent).

Overall, 38 per cent of dealers would be either ‘happy’ or ‘very happy’ to retail new cars from Chinese brands.

Responding to the findings, Carwow’s new CEO, John Veichmanis, said: ‘We are already partnering with a number of innovative Chinese brands and are in discussion with many more as we share dealers’ sense of their potential.

‘However, in order to succeed, Chinese brands will need to invest in establishing and then growing a strong brand presence, as well as be highly price competitive.

‘Securing the trust, loyalty, and purchasing power of British consumers won’t happen overnight; it will require the commitment of time, dedication and resources previously demonstrated by Korean OEMs.’

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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