New car buyers in the US currently don’t have many Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) to choose from, but a new study has shown many drivers under 40 would buy one given the opportunity.

    The study, conducted by research firm AutoPacific, yielded responses from almost 800 people aged 18-80 and found 76 per cent of people aged 40 or younger would consider buying a vehicle from a Chinese brand.

    However, just 35 per cent of all respondents said they’d be interested, a statistic largely influenced by the fact only 26 per cent of people aged 60 and older said they’d be willing to consider one.

    The survey results come despite the United States Government’s 100 per cent tariff on Chinese-built EVs to protect its own car industry, though AutoPacific expects it’ll only be a “matter of time” before they arrive on American shores.

    “A surprising number of American consumers are familiar with Chinese car brands even though none are sold here currently. This is especially true among savvy Millennials and Gen Z,” AutoPacific President and Chief Analyst Ed Kim said.

    Though most respondents wouldn’t consider buying a Chinese-built vehicle, 16 per cent of the 800 people said they’d be more willing to purchase a Chinese-brand vehicle if it was instead built in the US, Mexico, or Canada.

    A handful of Chinese automakers are already selling and are looking to produce cheaper vehicles in Mexico for the Mexican market, and such vehicles could potentially be sold in the US to avoid tariffs under current American free trade rules.

    78 per cent of respondents overall said they would be at least somewhat concerned about their privacy if Chinese-brand vehicles were sold in the US, with 73 per cent of people under 40 sharing the sentiment.

    81 per cent of people aged over 60 said they would be concerned about their privacy, while respondents of all ages were concerned about potential national security risks regardless of the manufacturing location.

    “Privacy concerns about Chinese-brand vehicles are likely to eventually subside given that most of the connected smartphones, smart watches, laptops, connected home devices we are comfortable using every day are in fact manufactured in China,” Mr Kim said.

    AutoPacific attributed the increase in general awareness of Chinese manufacturers to social media exposure, even in the case of respondents who said they wouldn’t consider buying a Chinese-brand car.

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    Max Davies

    Max Davies is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Max studied journalism at La Trobe University and stepped into the automotive world after graduating in late 2023. He grew up in regional Victoria, and with a passion for everything motorsport is a fan of Fernando Alonso.

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