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SAIC Motor to hold onto European market despite new tariffs: senior management

By Li Jizhi | Xinhua | Updated: 2024-06-22 04:59

A poster for an MG-4 EV, a brand of Chinese state-owned carmaker SAIC, is displayed at a car showroom in Santander, Spain, June 13, 2024. [REUTERS/Vincent West]

BRUSSELS -- Leading Chinese car maker SAIC Motor Europe will honor its commitment to European consumers despite the European Union's (EU) recent decision to raise temporary tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs), the company's vice president Yuan Yingchen told Xinhua.

The European Commission on June 12 unveiled provisional tariffs ranging from 17.4 percent to 38.1 percent for Chinese EV makers despite widespread market concerns and China's objections. It accused China of "unfair subsidization" in its EV value chain, but did not provide further information to explain the factual or legal bases for its tariff plan.

"It is unfair to Chinese car manufacturers, to the EU's principles of free trade, and to European consumers," Yuan told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the Europe-China CEO Roundtable Panel held Wednesday in Brussels.

A report titled "Greening Europe -- Report on the Development of Chinese NEV Manufacturers in Europe" was launched on the same day.

Yuan voiced his confidence in SAIC's robust technology and high-quality products. Although the EU tariff plan presents a temporary challenge, SAIC is committed to overcoming these difficulties, he said.

"For us, who adhere to the long-term approach, these are just small hurdles, small ripples in the course of long-term development," Yuan said.

SAIC is determined to defend its legitimate rights through all necessary legal and commercial means while continuing to strengthen its presence on the European market, he said.

According to Yuan, the company is working on establishing an engineering research and development center in Frankfurt to promote adaptive customization, and on the plan to build a factory in Europe.

Site selection for the new factory has been progressing rapidly, and establishing a factory in Europe will bring a highly competitive supply chain to the region, said Yuan, who has visited several countries to communicate with local authorities for this purpose.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the MG brand, currently owned by SAIC. Marc Hecht, public relations director of SAIC Motor Germany, told Xinhua that the company plans to open more stores in Europe.

"Unlike Chinese consumers who prioritize software, connectivity, and comfort, European consumers focus more on driving performance," Hecht said, noting that SAIC has adjusted its designs to meet European consumers' preferences.

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