News > Chinese vehicles headed to US and European markets

Chinese vehicles headed to US and European markets

 - 03/01/2018

It was only ever going to be a matter of time before China stopped being almost exclusively an importer of vehicles from Europe and the USA, and instead started exporting its own models to those lucrative markets. And after a decade spent developing models through buying and studying foreign technology, Chinese automakers such as Geely are now getting close to realizing their ambition of competing in the lucrative American and European markets with their own products.

A lot of focus has been placed in the past on the Chinese penchant for producing cheap copies of well-known Western models for the domestic market, but that was only ever going to be the start of things. Now Chinese companies including Geely, GAC Motor and Great Wall Motor have improved their technology, design and marketing to such a point, where they now have a bigger part of their domestic market as well as a better chance than ever of being able to survive in more competitive markets.

And not only are Chinese manufacturers planning on bringing their own branded vehicles to the West, they could also entirely change the way consumers own and run their vehicles in future. For instance, Volvo's performance brand Polestar, which is owned by Chinese company Geely, recently revealed more details of its Polestar 1 and the new way it is going to be sold through a subscription service. 

Geely, which already owns Volvo Cars and Lotus and makes London black cabs, is also planning to be selling its own cars in Europe in 2019 and in the United States the following year. The Lynk & Co brand, which has been set up in Sweden in conjunction with Volvo, will be used as the spearhead of its attack on new markets outside China. It appears Geely is only looking to sell green cars, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric models through directly-owned stores and online.

However, GAC Motor, which works with the likes of Honda, Toyota and Fiat Chrysler in China, could beat Geely to the American market. But GAC Motor is probably going to use a more traditional distribution network approach of franchised retail stores over there.

Last month, The New York Times reported that GAC Motor was looking to launch its own brand of vehicle in the US by the end of 2019. The company hopes it will be the first Chinese brand to take off in the elusive American market, although it remains to be seen if the brand name, Trumpchi, will turn out to be a help or a hindrance.


Photo : © SAUL LOEB / AFP