Report Warns Chinese EVs Pose Threat To US Auto Industry Without Steep Tariffs

A recent report from the Detroit News highlights the potential impact of cheap electric vehicles (EVs) from China on the American auto industry if not met with strong trade protections.

The Chinese automaker BYD’s all-electric Seagull, which sells for just $12,000 in China and around $21,000 in Latin America, “could be a nightmare for the U.S. auto industry,” according to industry experts.

Currently, former President Donald Trump’s 25% tariffs on China-made cars are the only barrier preventing Chinese automakers from flooding the U.S. market with affordable EVs. AutoForecast Solutions Vice President Sam Fiorani told the Detroit News that “BYD’s entry into the U.S. market isn’t an if, it’s a when.”

President Joe Biden recently announced over 100% tariffs on China-made EVs, 50% tariffs on solar cell imports, 25% tariffs on some Chinese steel and aluminum imports and 25% tariffs on imported lithium-ion batteries for EVs. However, these tariffs won’t impact EVs made in other countries by Chinese automakers, such as BYD’s planned factory in Mexico.

Trump, who has called for across-the-board tariffs on all imports, said Biden’s increasing tariffs on China “should have [been] done … a long time ago” to protect American auto workers. He warned that Chinese automakers’ attempt to use Mexico as a backdoor to sell their cars in the U.S. market tariff-free would be “a bloodbath” for American auto workers.

Industry experts, auto executives, auto workers, Democrats and Republicans have expressed agreement with Trump’s concerns about the threat posed by cheap Chinese EVs to the U.S. auto industry without strong trade protections.