In September 2023, between Shenzhen and Shanghai, we discovered emerging Chinese automotive brands that are beginning to generate interest and fear in Europe. You will see that, contrary to what one might think, Tesla is not without rivals on the world stage. XPeng, Denza, HiPhi, Zeekr, Aito and Nio: here are the brands that we were able to discover.
In September 2023, we undertook a trip between Shenzhen and Shanghai, to discover the Chinese automobile brands which are becoming more and more talked about in Europe. These brands, often surrounded by prejudice and arousing a certain apprehension, have begun to mark their territory on the European market.
In China, they have already destabilized European manufacturers who have been well established in China for decades, including the German big names. BYD ended Volkswagen’s 15-year rule in China.
BYD’s market share reached 10.4%, while Volkswagen’s fell to 10.1%, well below its peak of 16.6% in 2014. To see the rise BYD: Two years ago, BYD’s market share was only 2%, but it is now the best-selling brand in China. Worldwide, BYD went from 5th to 4th on the podium in just one month!
It is inevitable that the years to come will be marked by numerous disappearances in the sector, like what happened with the advent of the smartphone. At that time, several Western big names disappeared, including Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Alcatel, leaving room for a proliferation of Chinese brands, although some of them also had short-lived existences.
It is important to understand that Chinese manufacturers do not form a monolithic bloc. On the contrary, they are numerous, varied and distinct, each displaying its specificities, its values and its unique positioning on the market.
As a satisfied Tesla owner, it is impossible for me to deny the pioneering role that this brand plays in the automotive electric revolution. Tesla isn’t just replacing gasoline engines with huge-capacity batteries; the brand redefines the overall driving experience, offering features such as autopilot, advanced infotainment system, never before seen remote connectivity, enhanced safety and optimal comfort, thereby changing our relationship with the car.
Because, let us remember, the advent of electric vehicles also means the transition from mainly electromechanical machines to highly computerized devices. These are not only defined by software, but also optimized for security, functionality and value, making remote or autonomous control possible.
The seismic shift brought by the electric car era is forcing the 200-year-old auto industry to undergo radical reinvention. Tesla, omnipresent and praised, perfectly illustrates this ongoing transition. Its vehicles, increasingly visible in France, and even more so in the United States and China, demonstrate an ambitious and aggressive commercial strategy.
However, our exploration in China reveals that Tesla is not an isolated phenomenon. Many local brands, such as XPeng, Denza, HiPhi, Zeekr, Aito and Nio, offer equally efficient and innovative cars, with modern infotainment systems, advanced autopilot features and charging systems effective. Huawei, collaborating with various partners, is also venturing into automobile production, integrating amazing technologies and intuitive human-machine interfaces.
Instead of basing your opinions on the often more traditional Aiways, MG or BYD models, consider that many Chinese brands share DNA very close to that of Tesla, with some pushing innovation even further. These brands are just starting to appear on European territory.
And the climax? The majority of these innovative brands aspire to conquer the European market. So, if you were seduced and impressed by the Tesla experience, it’s a safe bet that you will be just as impressed by what Chinese automobile brands have to offer.