Are we going to be buying cars from China?

We’ve been buying ‘Made-In-China’ products for a long time but that’s just because most of those products had a familiar name and face. Even the iPhone is ‘designed in Cupertino’ and made in China. Around ten years ago, James May and Jeremy Clarkson travelled to China on Top Gear to find out what the fuss was all about but things have changed dramatically since then: China is a lot more powerful and wealthier than it was back then and their cars are getting better.

XPeng and NIO, for example, have been selling EVs like hot cakes and have big plans for Europe. Last year, XPeng delivered 16,000 units, which doesn’t sound like a lot but that’s +181% on 2020. This type is growth is usually unsustainable in the long run in terms of percentage, but if they sold 16,000 units in 2021, they’re definitely going to sell at least 16,000+1 in 2022. And look at it, wouldn’t you call it a pretty car? I would.

NIO had a similar trajectory in 2021, with 10,489 deliveries. These numbers, for the most part, only refer to China but sooner or later they’re going to be available in Europe as well. Maybe not in the U.S., though.

This is gonna happen, in my opinion, for two reasons: 1, consumers are becoming brand agnostic, the brand and the badge used to matter a lot more than they do now and 2, with electric cars, the way we look at reliability when buying a car will change a lot. It already has. There are fewer moving components and the crucial bits are the battery pack and the powertrain, and Chinese manufacturers began developing those before most European and American brands did. With exceptions.

I just want to make it plain that this is not something I want or don’t want, it’s just what it think will happen based on the current state of the market. What do you think?

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