Can EV demand meet supply in China?

Business & Technology
FILE PHOTO: Logos of Tencent are displayed at a news conference in Hong Kong, China March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

Stories of massive change — or, if you insist, disruption — in the Chinese auto market:

  • Toyota is piling onto the electric car (EV) bandwagon, following recent moves by companies such as Volkswagen, Ford, and Tesla, Engadget reports. The Japanese automaker will start selling EVs in China in 2020.
  • But not everyone is confident that EV sales will immediately meet demand, the Wall Street Journal says (paywall). As is, up to 6 percent of the EVs made in China this year have gone unsold, and a strong majority of sales come from taxi companies and local governments rather than individuals. If current subsidies are not renewed when they expire in 2020, analysts tell the Journal, companies will struggle to squeeze profit out of the sector.
  • So it’s not surprising that some foreign automakers are asking Beijing to slow down on its quotas for new energy vehicles, even more than they were already softened at the end of September. Caixin says (paywall) that Volkswagen’s CEO “called on China to refrain from setting stricter quota standards after 2020” to allow consumers time to “fully accept electric cars.”

But it’s not just the EV market that is evolving.

  • Reuters reports that GM is very bullish on its overall growth in China, estimating that sales will grow by more than 60 percent in 2017 on the strength of millennial demand for its luxury Cadillac brand.
  • The New York Times says (paywall) that Chinese automaker Trumpchi is “agonizing…over whether, and how, to change [its] name” as it sets its aims on the American market, where the company popular in China for sleek midsize sport utility vehicles would find itself with an entirely different name association.