Chinese Automakers Will “Demolish” Western Rivals- Elon Musk Warns

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has warned that China’s automakers will “demolish” their global opposition unless other nations impose trade barriers to handicap the new wave of Chinese electric cars.

Related: Elon Musk Laughed at BYD in 2011, Not Today

Musk, who once made fun of Chinese cars back in 2011 and derided their chances of world domination, while speaking to analysts on a recent earnings call, said:

“If there are no trade barriers established, they will pretty much demolish most other car companies in the world. They’re extremely good.”

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The candid warning from Tesla’s CEO comes just after BYD overtook the US-based company to take the top spot in the global EV sales rankings in the last quarter of 2023. Despite aggressively cutting prices throughout the year to chase volume above profit and surpass Dacia’s entry-level Sandero to the top of the European sales rankings, Tesla was unable to hold off BYD.

Related: BYD Says “Demolish the Old Legends”

China also surpassed Japan in 2023 to become the world’s largest automobile exporter, a feat that looks certain to be repeated in 2024 when it begins to extend its sales operations into Europe.

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Musk is not the only Western auto executive to express concerns about the Chinese threat. Carlos Tavares, the CEO of Stellantis, has also publicly expressed his concerns about the aggressive development plans of Chinese automakers, who are predicted to overtake the competition much sooner than anticipated.

Related: BYD Making a Dent in Elon Musk’s EV Empire

However, I always like to bring up the remarks made by the late Sergio Marchionne, the former CEO of Chrysler Group LLC and Fiat SpA (now a part of Stellantis), who warned Western automakers to be on the lookout for competition from Chinese automakers. He said these words in 2010–2011, nearly 13 years ago, surely 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.

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