Chinese automakers expand presence at Stockholm's eCarExpo

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-02-04 07:10
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People look at an electric vehicle of Zeekr at the Swedish eCarExpo 2024 in Stockholm, Sweden, on Feb 2, 2024. Swedish eCarExpo 2024 kicked off here Friday, with about 70 exhibitors showcasing their latest products during the three-day event. [Photo/Xinhua]

STOCKHOLM - The eCarExpo 2024 opened here on Friday, with a strong presence of Chinese electric cars.

MG Cyberster, a sporty roadster manufactured by Shanghai-based SAIC had its Swedish premiere here and was a crowd-pleaser with many of the visitors admiring its "scissor" doors.

The brand has grown steadily in the Swedish market since the first model was launched here in 2021, MG Sweden's PR manager Emma Harnstrom told Xinhua.

"It was only days ago that we sold our 20,000th car in Sweden," Harnstrom said.

Xpeng, Zeekr, and the brand previously known as Ora in Europe but now trading under the GWM brand were also among the brands present.

"We have now sold close to 1,000 cars in Sweden since we entered the market in November 2022," Martin Jonsson, service manager at GWM Sweden told Xinhua.

Younger generation embraces Chinese cars

The fact that most Swedes recently have not known of the GWM brand's existence does not mean that buyers are skeptical.

Part of the reason is that the guarantee is five years with unlimited mileage, while the battery pack is under an eight-year or 160,000-kilometer guarantee.

"Of the cars, 95 percent are also on a leasing contract, so customers have no reason to worry," Jonsson said, adding that the younger generation is more keen on trying new brands.

One of the visitors at eCarExpo told Xinhua that this is true, judging by the purchase patterns of his sons, aged 19 and 21.

"I believe that they are more willing to try new brands and technologies, just look at what happened when South Korean Samsung and Chinese Huawei launched their phones -- they became a hit among the younger consumers," Christer Blomquist told Xinhua.

Mattias Bergman, CEO of Mobility Sweden, a trade association whose members account for around 97 percent of all sales of cars, trucks, and buses in Sweden, confirms this picture.

"Back in the day when people bought cars with combustion engines, buyers were very loyal to 'their' brand. The same loyalty does not exist in the same way in the younger generation, and young people embrace what's new," Bergman told Xinhua.

"The automotive industry is global and what becomes successful in China will eventually come to Sweden. Today there are around a dozen Chinese brands," Bergman told Xinhua.

BYD popular in Sweden

Time will tell whether one of the Chinese models on show will become as successful as BYD ATTO 3, which in July last year became the second-most registered model across all categories in Sweden with 721 registrations, according to Hedin Mobility Group, a reseller of BYD vehicles.

In the same month, it was also the most registered BEV model, as one in nine battery electric vehicles (BEVs) sold in Sweden was an ATTO 3.

The chase to catch up with BYD is on, especially since the Shenzhen-based carmaker recently said that they would step up their game, despite increasing exports.

To further advance their European sales, BYD said in December that they will become the first Chinese carmaker to build a manufacturing and production center in Europe.

The factory, which will be situated in Hungary, will have an advanced production line and "is expected to create thousands of local jobs, boost the local economy, and support local supply chains," BYD said in a press release.

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