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In An EV Investigation, EU Authorities Will Examine China’s BYD, Geely, And SAIC.

According to three persons familiar in the process, Chinese automakers will be inspected by investigators from the European Commission in the upcoming weeks as part of an investigation into whether to impose punitive tariffs to safeguard European manufacturers of electric vehicles (EVs).

The inspectors will visit BYD (002594.SZ), Geely (0175.HK) and SAIC (600104.SS), two sources said, with one of them stating the investigators will not visit non-Chinese brands produced in China, such as Tesla (TSLA.O), Renault (RENA.PA) and BMW (BMWG.DE).

The investigation, which began in October and is expected to take 13 months, aims to ascertain whether state subsidies are unjustly advantageous to less expensive EVs manufactured in China. The probe, which Beijing has labeled as protectionist, has intensified hostilities with the EU.

Requests for response from the European Commission, BYD, SAIC, and China’s commerce ministry were not immediately answered. Geely declined to comment, citing a statement from October in which the business said it complied with all legal requirements and backed worldwide fair market competition.

According to one source, the investigators have reached China, while according to another, visits are planned for this month and next February.According to one source, the trips are for verification work, or on-site inspections verifying the answers the automakers provided on questionnaires.

Verification inspections are scheduled for April 11; according to European Commission records, the investigation is in its “initiation stage”.

The sources requested anonymity since the visit’s specifics were private.

China launched an anti-dumping investigation last Monday on EU-imported brandy, seemingly directed at France, which supports the EV investigation. Sweden’s MG and Geely’s Volvo are two well-known Chinese vehicles that are shipped to Europe.

The proportion of Chinese-produced EVs in the EU market has increased to 8% and is expected to reach 15% by 2025; these EVs are usually 20% cheaper than models made in the EU.

China’s Great Wall Motor (601633.SS) claimed to be the first carmaker to reply to the EU’s investigation into subsidies in October.

One of the reasons for the strain in relations between China and the EU has been Beijing’s tighter connections with Moscow following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, as domestic growth slows and competition at home heats up, Chinese EV manufacturers—from market leader BYD to smaller competitors Xpeng (9868.HK) and Nio (9866.HK)—are speeding up their efforts to go global. Many have prioritized selling to Europe.

According to estimates made this week by a Chinese auto group, China surpassed Japan to become the world’s biggest auto exporter last year, exporting 5.26 million vehicles worth almost $102 billion.

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