Chinese car manufacturers are determined to climb the global sales charts and, while the European Commission investigates alleged state subsidies that would keep Chinese car prices down in the Old Continent, more and more manufacturers are saying they are interested in opening car factories on our continent, particularly in Italy.

In late 2023 BYD announced the construction of a plant in Hungary (its first in Europe) and would like to open another. Stella Li, Vice President of BYD and Chairwoman of BYD Europe, denied that negotiations with the Italian government are under way, while it is known that an executive is negotiating with Chery Auto on the possibility of the company producing in Italy (a discussion not without criticism from Stellantis top management) and even Dongfeng Motor would be interested in manufacturing here.

Chery has already announced the opening of its first European production site in Spain and state-owned SAIC Motor continues to look for a European assembly plant while announcing that its MG brand will open its second European parts centre in France by the summer.

Great Wall Motor was already considering last year whether to locate its first European plant in Germany, Hungary or the Czech Republic, but at the moment there is no news.

Start in Spain and Hungary

China's Chery Auto has signed a joint venture agreement with Spain's EV Motors to produce cars in its first plant in Europe. The cars will be produced by the end of the year at the Spanish plant in Catalonia left by Japanese Nissan.

Chery Tiggo 7

Chery Tiggo 7

The deal is part of an ambitious plan launched in 2020 by Spain, Europe's second-largest car-producing nation after Germany, to attract companies to produce electric vehicles and batteries using the European Union's pandemic relief funds.

Chery, the joint venture's junior partner, will be the first to start producing its Omoda vehicles at the Spanish plant, while majority shareholder EV Motors will start producing its vehicles in the fourth quarter (the goal by 2029 is to assemble 150,000 vehicles annually).

BYD cars will be built in Szeged, Hungary, at a new plant that is estimated to be operational within three years and will be BYD's second plant after the Komarom plant, which opened in 2016 and is dedicated to the production of eBuses. According to analyst firm Bernstein, the new factory could have a volume of 200,000 cars per year, both BEVs and PHEVs.

BYD Seagull

BYD Seagull

As Stella Li, Executive Vice President of BYD Company Limited and Chairwoman of BYD Europe, told us at the Beijing Motor Show, the group is intent on starting another factory in Europe, even two.

Geely is also determined to produce cars in Europe, it is supposed to do so in Poland but the new government must confirm or not its support for the Chinese manufacturer's plan and will do so by the summer.

Not only cars, also Chinese batteries

Chinese cars could soon also be made in Italy. As anticipated, the Meloni government is negotiating with Chery Auto and Dongfeng Motor would also be interested in producing there. Meanwhile, the Chinese battery giants are also looking to Europe.

Dongfeng eπ 007

Dongfeng eπ 007

The CEO of CATL, Zeng Yuqun, has admitted that he is interested in investing in the Old Continent, but a lot will depend on the tariffs on Chinese electric cars that Europe is proposing for July 2024.

CATL battery at the Munich Motor Show 2023

CATL battery at the Munich Motor Show 2023

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, the US is putting pressure on Mexico to slow down Chinese expansion. For now, the doors for new Chinese plants have been closed, but for how much longer?