Renault is threatened by growing Imports of Chinese EVs
That warning by Renault Group Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard comes as European automakers roll out more electric cars in the midst of a deep slump brought on by the coronavirus.
As a result, the Chinese models are arriving in a market that’s becoming increasingly crowded with new EVs, including Renault’s updated Zoe subcompact and Volkswagen Group’s coming ID3.
“We are going to face ferocious competition from within and outside Europe,” Senard told French lawmakers Thursday at a parliamentary hearing. “We have to turn around quickly to be able to counter these new entrants” selling inexpensive but reliable cars, he said.
In the first quarter, electric-car sales in the country slid 12 percent due to the virus slowdown. Yet with 16,347 vehicles sold, it still took fourth place behind much more populous Germany, France and the UK, according to figures published by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, ACEA.
British brand MG Motor, owned by Chinese giant SAIC Motor, has sold 600 of its ZS EVs in Norway, while a number of other companies are preparing their entry this year, according to the Norwegian Automobile Federation.
These include BYD, the Chinese electric-vehicle maker backed by Warren Buffett, and Polestar, the venture between Volvo Cars and Zhejiang Geely Holding. Alibaba-backed Xpeng Motors also is planning to start sales in the country, as is Shanghai-based automaker Aiways.
Domestic European manufacturers are rushing out new hybrid and full-electric models to meet regulatory requirements.
VW brand’s ID3 is one of 70 new battery-powered cars planned by VW Group in coming years. Renault is pushing its new Zoe, while rival PSA Group is offering a less-expensive, two-seat EV called the Citroen Ami.