Carlos Tavares, boss of automotive giant Stellantis, wants the European Union to be harder on Chinese carmakers.
“Very simply, we should ask the European Union to enforce the same conditions in Europe for Chinese manufacturers under which we, the western manufacturers, compete in China,” Mr Tavares told reporters at the Paris motor show, as reported by Automotive News Europe.
“The European market is wide open to the Chinese and we do not know if their strategy is to grab market share at a loss and increase their price later,” he said.
Mr Tavares reportedly referenced conversations he’s already had with French President Emmanuel Macron about the tariffs. Mr Macron has been vocal about the impact of Chinese tariffs, and a recent American push to encourage local EV manufacturing, on European carmakers.
European-made cars face tariffs of between 15 and 25 per cent in China, compared to the 10 per cent applied to Chinese-made cars imported to Europe.
Great Wall Motor is gearing up to roll out its range of Ora electric and Wey luxury vehicles in Europe, while MG has established a foothold with a range of PHEV and EV offerings.
BYD, which has recently arrived in Australia, is also making a push into Europe. It’s rolled out several new cars already in 2022, and recently announced a deal to sell 100,000 EVs to German rental giant Sixt.
Mr Tavares, who heads up a group which includes brands ranging from Jeep and Dodge to Fiat and Peugeot, has been outspoken about Europe’s recent automotive policies.
In January 2022, he warned plans to move away from internal-combustion by 2035 are risky.
“What is clear is that electrification is a technology chosen by politicians, not by industry,” he said in a joint interview with Les Echos, Handelsblatt, Corriere della Sera and El Mundo – as relayed via Reuters.
“Given the current European energy mix, an electric car needs to drive 70,000 kilometres to compensate for the carbon footprint of manufacturing the battery and to start catching up with a light hybrid vehicle, which costs half as much as an EV (electric vehicle),” he added.
Just this week he followed up by arguing “the dogmatic decision that was taken to ban the sale of thermal vehicles in 2035 has social consequences that are not manageable”.
“If you deny the middle classes access to freedom of movement, you are going to have serious social problems,” he contended, pointing to his company’s electrified hybrids as a middle ground that would still have merit longer-term.
“What we have to offer our European leaders is a transitional solution,” he said, claiming these more affordable models still cut emissions by 50 per cent.