China’s leading automobile manufacturer, BYD has ignited a surge of online attention after the automaker signaled for unity, calling for the industry to band together and “demolish the old legends.”
During a recent event commemorating a production milestone, BYD shifted the focus to a grander objective: spotlighting China’s ascent as a powerhouse in global automotive manufacturing. The founder Wang Chuanfu said:
“I believe the time has come for Chinese brands. It’s an emotional need for the 1.4 billion Chinese people to see a Chinese brand becoming global.”
During the event, BYD aired a video commemorating the establishment of 12 competitors, ranging from state-affiliated FAW Group in 1956 to more recent commercial EV startups like Xpeng, Nio, and Li Auto over the past decade. The video showcases historical clips, expansive landscapes, and vehicles being prepared for export. “Our stories are different from each other but share the same direction,” the narrator says. “There’s no distinction between ‘you’ and ‘me’.” The video ends with a call for China’s automakers to “demolish the old legends and achieve new world-class brands,” under the slogan, “Chinese Autos”.
The video went viral on Chinese social media, with several rivals posting notes of admiration. “I feel proud of China’s auto industry!” said William Li, CEO of Nio. “Salute to BYD!” said Li Xiang, CEO of Li Auto. “Let’s give a thumbs up to every participant in the new energy era!”
However, car manufacturers cautioned that this message might amplify regulatory vulnerabilities for Chinese brands abroad, particularly in Europe, where Chinese electric vehicle exports are susceptible to potential anti-dumping investigations. A high-ranking official representing Great Wall Motor (GWM) suggested that Chinese car manufacturers should embrace the “reality of competition”.
BYD calls for Chinese automotive unity, ‘demolish the old legends’
At this point, the words of the late Sergio Marchionne, the former chief executive of Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group LLC (now part of Stellantis) become even more relevant. He said almost a decade ago while alarming the Western car makers to watch out for competition from Chinese cars. His words need a mention again:
Chinese automakers have future plans to export autos to other parts of the world and pose an “enormous” risk to established car makers based in Europe and North America. Chinese automakers currently produce almost entirely for the enormous domestic market, but their future plans for the export market are significant. Even assuming China was to export only 10% of what it produces, the risk we face in our home markets is enormous. Automakers like Fiat and Chrysler cannot afford to be unprepared for the ascent of China and need to continue to work to make our industrial base more competitive because the day of reckoning is inevitably coming.
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com