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26 Dec, 2023 12:02

German car industry could be sold to Сhina – Putin aide

Mercedes, BMW, and other European carmakers will likely “fade into history” within the next decade, Maksim Oreshkin has warned
German car industry could be sold to Сhina – Putin aide

China is rapidly gaining market capitalization in the global automobile sector, while European carmakers are losing competitiveness, Maksim Oreshkin, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top economic adviser, told Expert magazine in an interview published on Tuesday.

Oreshkin noted that China has already become the number one exporter of cars in the world, which does not bode well for European car brands.

I wouldn't be surprised if companies like Mercedes and BMW fade into history in ten years. As brands they will probably remain, but will follow the fate of Volvo, which was sold to China. In other words, they will actually cease to be European cars,” the presidential aide predicted.

European manufacturers now have neither the market nor the technological advantage that they had five to ten years ago,” according to Oreshkin.

The broader EU, and Germany, its industrial powerhouse, in particular, have been in the grip of an economic crisis for the past year and a half, ever since Brussels launched its sanctions war on Russia in response to the Ukraine conflict. As a result, the bloc lost access to cheap energy from Russia, which used to power much of its industry.

Earlier this year, the head of Germany’s Association of the Automotive Industry, Hildegard Muller, warned that the country “is losing dramatically its international competitiveness” as the location for the automobile industry because of soaring energy costs.

China became the world’s largest automobile exporter for the first time in Q1 this year, having sold 1.07 million vehicles and pushing Japan to second place. The country has kept up its lead in the following quarters, with the export volume registering a year-on-year growth of 59.7% in January-October at 3.92 million units, according to data from the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

Meanwhile, following the departure of European, American, South Korean, and Japanese carmakers due to sanctions, China became Russia's biggest automobile supplier in 2023. According to the latest available data, Chinese brands accounted for 92% of all Russian car imports between January and August.

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