Chinese carmakers set sights on production in Turkey to dodge EU tariffs

  • Chinese automakers eye production in Turkey to avoid EU tariffs.
  • Turkey, a key player in automotive production, accelerates discussions with BYD, Chery, and SAIC.
  • Partnership signifies Turkey’s readiness for Europe’s electric vehicle transition, boosting its role in the global automotive sector.

Chinese Automakers Target Turkish Production to Dodge EU Tariffs and Boost European Presence

As the European Union decides on potentially increasing tariffs on EVs imported from China, Chinese automakers are already developing an alternative strategy to maintain their strength and continued growth in the region.

On 14 May, the US announced it would hike tariffs on EVs from China to 100%. The EU may follow suit to protect local EV makers. But Chinese auto giants are already eyeing a solution: setting up factories in Turkey to localise their EV production.

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BYD and Chery are engaged in high-level discussions with Turkey to invest in manufacturing facilities, aiming to bolster their sales in Europe. The country is also in talks with SAIC, the parent company of MG and Great Wall Motor.

Turkey already serves as an advanced automotive production hub for many leading global brands, but its EV sector has yet to see substantial development. The entry of Chinese automakers could not only enhance output but also ready its local supply chain for Europe’s future shift to EVs.

With $35.7 billion in vehicle and spare part exports in 2023, Turkey’s car industry claimed the top spot in the country’s export sector. This marked a significant increase from $21.6 billion a decade earlier, underscoring the auto industry’s pivotal role in Turkey’s economy. For BYD, the prospective Turkish factory would be its second plant for passenger cars aimed at the European market. Just last December, the company announced plans to build a vehicle factory in Szeged, Hungary.

A collaboration between Chinese automakers and Turkey could redefine Europe’s EV market. By setting up production facilities in Turkey, manufacturers are not only sidestepping potential tariffs but also positioning themselves strategically within Europe’s automotive landscape. 

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