The US Government will officially launch a probe into Chinese cars amid fears that vehicles from its rival superpower are gaining data about the country’s infrastructure, posing a significant security risk.

    Reuters reports the US Commerce Department announced the probe last week, claiming modern vehicles “collect large amounts of sensitive data on their drivers and passengers [and] regularly use their cameras and sensors to record detailed information on US infrastructure”.

    The probe will also extend to autonomous vehicles, as the department is concerned about their ability to “be piloted or disabled remotely”.

    US President Joe Biden reportedly called the probe an “unprecedented action to ensure that cars on U.S. roads from countries of concern like China do not undermine our national security”.

    “China’s policies could flood our market with its vehicles, posing risks to our national security. I’m not going to let that happen on my watch,” President Biden added.

    The probe represents the second time within a month that the US has made comments claiming Chinese cars pose a security risk. 

    Last month, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous vehicles are “collecting a huge amount of information about the driver, the location of the vehicle, the surroundings of the vehicle”.

    A spokesperson for the Chinese government told Reuters it believes the US is discriminating against its cars behind misplaced security concerns.

    “China urges the US to respect the laws of the market economy and principles of fair competition, stop overstretching the concept of national security, stop its discriminatory suppression of Chinese companies and uphold an open fair and non-discriminatory business environment,” the spokesperson said.

    At present, no Chinese brands currently sell vehicles in the US, however there are a handful of Chinese-built vehicles sold there including the Polestar 2 and Buick Envision.

    However, south of the border there are now a large number of Chinese brands selling vehicles in Mexico, such as MG, BYD and Chirey (known here as Chery).

    Polestar has previously said its data-storing policies mean it’s unlikely to be scrutinised by the US.

    Despite offering such a small number of models in the large US new-car market, China became the largest vehicle exporter in the world in 2023, dethroning Japan amid a boost of imports from Russia.

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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