Chery’s Strategic Foundations for the German Market Launch

Chery has been active in Europe for some time, though not yet with new cars. However, the launch is imminent, and European dealers are already gathering insights in China. A visit on the sidelines of the Beijing Auto Show reveals how the manufacturer is economically and structurally positioned in its homeland.

Upon arrival in Beijing, one is immediately struck by a country where the automotive market unleashes remarkable dynamism. In the airport parking lot and later in the city, the prevalence of new electric vehicles is noticeable. These vehicles are often recognized by their green license plates. While familiar brands like Tesla and Audi are present, the streets are more dominantly lined with names that sound exotic from a European perspective, such as Li, Aito, and local manufacturer Beijing. Although combustion engines with blue license plates still outnumber them, electric mobility is already flourishing here, unlike in Germany, where it remains somewhat dormant.

Ashley Chen, Brand Manager for Chery Germany, accompanies us on the drive from the airport to downtown Beijing. He cites two main reasons for the success of electric mobility in his country: Unlike in Germany, where high electricity prices prevail, electric vehicle drivers in China can save significant amounts of money thanks to low-cost electricity. The energy costs for combustion engines are five times higher compared to electric vehicles, Chen notes. In contrast, German drivers of electric vehicles can only achieve slight cost advantages if they primarily charge at home. Additionally, for several years, the waiting time for electric vehicle registration allocations in Beijing was significantly shortened, whereas it spanned several years for combustion engines, a situation that has now equalized for electric vehicles as well.

Beijing itself has a population of over 20 million, not counting the metropolitan region, Chen points out. The city’s streets are already saturated with cars. In 2022 alone, around 6 million were registered, contributing to the perpetual traffic jams evident everywhere. On a Tuesday morning at 6:30 AM, we drive in a minibus from the airport towards the center. Whether three, four, or six lanes, the broad avenues are already crowded with dense caravans of vehicles. Amidst constant honking, drivers jostle for every meter and gap.

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