Carlos Tavares at Luton plant, Apr 2018, via PACarlos Tavares at Luton plant, Apr 2018, via PA

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Stellantis boss calls for tariffs on Chinese EVs as he warns of consequences of unfair advantage

  • Carlos Tavares has hit out at West’s ‘naive and dogmatic’ rules over switch to EV
  • Stellantis boss says don’t support Chinese companies in Europe with easier rules than we get there
  • Chinese manufacturers don’t have restrictions selling to Europe
  • West faces tariffs and other hurdles when selling cars to China
  • Tavares wants tariffs imposed until 2035 on cars made in China

Time 9:11 am, October 23, 2022

Carlos Tavares wants tariffs imposed on Chinese EV makers to protect European manufacturing.

The Stellantis boss warned that the West’s ‘naive and dogmatic’ rules aimed at encouraging people to make the switch from petrol and diesel to electric vehicles were handing Chinese manufacturers a competitive advantage.

That’s because there are no restrictions on the Chinese selling to Europe but cars from the West face tariffs as well as other hurdles in China.


Picking up on an Autocar report from earlier in the week, today’s Sunday Times quoted him as saying: ‘The EU is wide open and it is not acceptable.

‘Don’t support Chinese companies in Europe with easier rules than we’re getting there. Do you want to put your mobility in the hands of the Chinese state?’

It follows the news that BMW is to move production of the electric Mini to China.


Tavares reckons China is some 10 years ahead of Europe in developing and making EVs, so wants tariffs imposed on cars made in China until 2035 so that Europe can compete on a level playing ground, or for European vehicles to have favourable subsidies.

He fears that by legislating in favour of EVs, the political leaders of Europe are forcing companies to make cars that are unaffordable to the middle classes, which in turn is sending them in the direction of Chinese makes, jeopardising the European car industry’s future, reported Autocar.

The publication reported Tavares as saying: ‘In this transition period, we need to protect our industry.

‘If we don’t protect the industry in this period and keep this vulnerability to Chinese imports, it creates a bigger risk where we will lose our industry. I don’t think leaders want that but there is a reality it could happen.’

Tavares also commented on the high price of EVs, saying: ‘People cannot afford a safe, clean vehicle.

‘Why do we keep adding constantly to the price of cars if they’re safe and clean, and people can enjoy freedoms? A debate has not been had. I ask EU citizens to ask their political leaders for a clear position: are you for or against the freedom of mobility?

‘If not, do you want to put your mobility in the hands of the Chinese state?’

Today’s Sunday Times carries an interview with Vincent Cobée, global CEO of Stellantis brand Citroen, in which he says only ‘fat cats’ and ‘spoiled brats’ are able to afford new EVs.

Cobée adds: ‘Is that the future we want? Is individual mobility going to be the exclusive benefit of the rich, as it was 100 years ago? Is that the future of a responsible society?’


Carlos Tavares is seen at top during a visit to the Vauxhall plant in Luton in 2018. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/PA Images

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.



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