Chinese carmaker Dongfeng Motor is planning to set up a new plant in Italy to produce 100,000 hybrid cars a year for both the local market and the European market as a whole.

The news, reported by Bloomberg, was given yesterday by Qian Xie, head of Dongfeng's European operations, who spoke of preliminary negotiations with the Italian government, which would be prepared to offer the Chinese manufacturer a list of production sites in the coming weeks.

The first Chinese carmakers in Italy?

If the deal goes through, it would be the first case of a Chinese manufacturer ready to set up production lines in Italy, following rumours of the possible arrival of Chery (which was then diverted to Spain) and BYD, which chose Hungary.

Voyah Free

Voyah Free

At a meeting with the press in Milan, Qian Xie himself said:

"Italy is one of the biggest European car markets and for a Chinese manufacturer, having local production means being able to supply all the other countries in the region".

The possible conflict with Stellantis

It should be remembered, however, that if this agreement between the Italian government and Dongfeng were to materialise, a kind of clash could arise between the policy and Stellantis, which remains the benchmark group for Italian cars.

A few days ago, Carlos Tavares spoke of the possible opening of Chinese car plants in Italy and the subsequent closure of Stellantis plants:

"If someone wanted to introduce Chinese competition, they would be responsible for the unpopular decisions that might be taken."

Carlos Tavares

Carlos Tavares

"If we are under pressure, the only thing we can do is accelerate our efforts to increase productivity and be competitive."

"We may not need as many factories as we have today. We are ready to fight, but in a battle there are casualties."

Chinese government ownership and numerous brands

Dongfeng Motor Group sold 1.74 million cars in 2023, down 19% on the previous year. The Asian carmaker is part of the Dongfeng Motor Corporation group, which is 100% owned by the Chinese central government, also produces commercial vehicles and has a number of joint venture agreements with other international groups.

Dongfeng Aeolus

The main joint ventures include those with Nissan and Honda, as well as with Stellantis for the production of Citroën and Peugeot cars in China, and EGT New Energy, which also builds the Dacia Spring.

Here are Dongfeng's car brands:

  • Dongfeng
    • Aeolus
    • Dongfeng eπ
    • Dongfeng Nammi
  • Fengdu
  • Forthing
  • M-Hero
  • Venucia
  • Voyah