The EU has begun an investigation to clarify whether the enormous advantage in terms of costs that electric cars of Chinese origin exhibit over indigenous ones is due to the granting of aid by the Chinese authorities. Depending on the conclusions reached by Brussels, higher tariffs could be imposed to safeguard local industry.
This investigation will not only affect Chinese brands but also those Western manufacturers that export electric cars from Asian countries. The executive vice president of the EU, Valdis Dombrovskis, already confirmed this point a few days ago.
This is the case of the Dacia Spring and the Tesla Model 3. One of the actors that could be most affected would be BMW, which produces several electric models in China (BMW iX3, MINI Cooper, MINI Aceman). It is interesting to note that, between 2025 and 2026, all three models will be repatriated to Europe.
The financial director of the Bavarian firm, Walter Mertl, has pointed out that the move carried out by the EU could cause more harm than good. “The reaction, like a boomerang, may be greater than one imagined,” he declared about the possible retaliation that the Chinese government could take in response to the investigation.
The BMW iX3, MINI Cooper, and MINI Aceman are produced in China
BMW is currently completing a series of questionnaires for the EU, which must be submitted within just one week. According to a spokesperson, these questionnaires detail their investments and manufacturing capabilities for electric vehicles in China. Last year alone, the German conglomerate exported between 15,000 and 20,000 iX3s from China.
The EU is divided in this situation, with Germany leading the faction against the investigation (not in vain, China is the main market for BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and the Volkswagen Group ) and France in favor of taking protectionist measures. (since Renault and Stellantis are much less exposed to that market). In recent investigations in other sectors (e-bikes and fiber optic cables), the EU has discovered subsidized margins of 4-17%.