China's auto industry embraces change as local brands seize NEV opportunities

(Xinhua) 08:33, October 27, 2023

A man looks at a BYD electric vehicle in Budapest, Hungary, Oct. 17, 2023. Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD has taken a leap in its global expansion by launching the sale of its new energy vehicles in Hungary on Tuesday. (Photo by Attila Volgyi/Xinhua)

GUANGZHOU, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- This year has seen a new trend in China's auto market: The sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) from domestic automakers such as BYD and GAC Aion continue to rise, while joint venture brands face a decline in sales or even suspended production.

Recently, Japan's Mitsubishi Motors announced it will end its local production of Mitsubishi-brand vehicles in China and transfer its stake in a joint venture in China to its Chinese partner, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC Group).

After restructuring is completed, GAC Mitsubishi's production capacity will be accepted by GAC Aion, an NEV subsidiary of GAC Group based in Guangzhou, the capital of south China's Guangdong Province.

On July 3, GAC Aion produced China's 20 millionth NEV in Guangzhou -- a remarkable milestone for the country's NEV sector.

As China's NEV market maintains its strong growth momentum, new partnerships between foreign and domestic car brands have also been forged.

Volkswagen in July reached an agreement to buy a 4.99 percent stake in Chinese electric vehicle startup Xpeng and co-develop two electric vehicle (EV) models for the Chinese market.

The deal attracted significant attention as it gave Volkswagen access to Xpeng's technologies, including its advanced driving assistance system, contributing to its efforts to tap into China's fast-growing EV market.

Their cooperation was a major milestone in China's intelligent EV manufacturing and an important sign that China's car-making abilities are recognized by the world's leading carmakers, Shenwan Hongyuan Securities said in a research note.

For decades, the Chinese auto industry has pursued the improvement of its innovation capacities in fields ranging from whole vehicles to communication modules, power chips and other electronic components.

World-leading auto parts supplier Valeo, which is headquartered in France, launched the Valeo (Shenzhen) intelligent manufacturing center earlier this year.

The center expects its sales to maintain a high annual growth rate of over 20 percent for the next five years, said Zhou Song, president of Valeo China.

"Shenzhen has a relatively complete new energy automobile industry foundation. Its resources and advantages in the development of the intelligent car industry strengthen our confidence," Zhou said.

China's NEV giant BYD has released a forecast of its net profits in the first three quarters of this year, estimating the total at 20.5 billion yuan (about 2.86 billion U.S. dollars) to 22.5 billion yuan, an increase of more than 120 percent year on year. It also noted that its cumulative NEV sales have already exceeded 5.4 million units.

Market analysts believe that China's auto consumption potential remains resilient, and foreign auto companies have broad space for development in China.

In 2022, China's new energy passenger cars had a 63 percent share of the world's new energy passenger car market, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).

"The rise of domestic Chinese car brands indicates the high-quality development of China's automobile industry, particularly its more competitive new energy vehicles," said Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the CPCA.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)


Related Stories