The Washington Post reported on November 26 that Chinese factories are starting to supply EVs (electric vehicles) to the rest of the world. However, buyers seem unsure of their origin since there are no “made in China” advertisements.

Shannon Harrison didn’t know her newly purchased car from a Dallas-area dealership was made in China.

She initially preferred a hybrid or something fuel efficient to reduce her gas bill. However, dealers had limited supplies due to widespread auto shortages. At that time, a salesperson introduced her to “Polestar,” an electric brand that she’s never heard of.

The Polestar brand is a product of Geely Automobile Group, a major automaker in China and has expanded overseas since 2010 by acquiring Swedish automaker Volvo. Chinese billionaire Li Shufu is the founder and major shareholder of Geely. 

Geely and Volvo founded Polestar in 2017. Volvo is headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Arya Farahmand, the dealership’s finance manager, said that depending on options, the cost of the car can range from $50,000 to $75,000. He added most consumers spend between $60,000 and $70,000.

Many American buyers claimed they selected the Polestar because it was still available during a recent automobile shortage caused by a global lack of semiconductors.

With significant governmental funding, Chinese automakers have invested billions of dollars in growing the electric vehicle market.

Domestic brands have made up the majority of electric vehicle sales in China, and some of them, including BYD, Nio, and Great Wall Motor, are beginning to appear in foreign markets, offering a new challenge to traditional manufacturers.

The state-owned SAIC, the largest manufacturer in China, sells numerous electric MG models in Europe, including a low-cost hatchback with a starting price of about $31,500. SAIC acquired the British MG brand in the early 2000s. 

Additionally, BYD, based in Shenzhen and stands for “Build Your Dreams,” debuted three electric vehicles for sale in Europe last month at the Paris Motor Show, including the little Atto 3 SUV.

According to Wei Jianjun, chairman of Great Wall Motor, which is introducing a new low-cost EV in Europe under the name Ora Funky Cat, the business is still figuring out how to satisfy various tastes and requirements in foreign markets. 

Matthias Schmidt, founder of Schmidt Automotive Research in Berlin, said, “Now that they have reached scale, the Chinese are looking to export to Western markets.” 

Schmidt added, “They built up a lot of skills and competencies in their own market while Western [manufacturers] have been relative laggards.”

The Washington Post commented that the fact that the car has entered the American market indicates China’s ambition to dominate an export market it has never previously conquered – automobiles.

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