Images of major European car manufacturers expressing concerns towards the growing influence of China

Title: Chinese Automakers Shake Up Global Auto Industry, Prompting Concern Among Established Brands


The rapid rise of Chinese automakers is causing a significant disruption in the global auto industry. This article explores the growing presence of Chinese car companies and the concerns they raise among long-established brands. With a focus on the Australian market, where Chinese cars have gained traction, this report analyzes the reasons behind the surge in Chinese car sales, the challenges faced by traditional automakers, and the implications for the industry as a whole.

Changing Dynamics in the Australian Market:

Over the past few years, China has emerged as the third largest source of new motor vehicles in Australia, surpassing South Korea (Hyundai and Kia), the United States, and Germany. In 2018 alone, 10,500 new Chinese-made cars were sold in Australia, a significant increase from the previous year’s sales of 4,700 vehicles. Currently, China delivers approximately 16,000 vehicles per month in Australia, accounting for nearly 15 percent of the country’s new car market. This upward trend indicates that Chinese automakers are just starting to make their mark in the Australian automotive space.

Perception and Shift in Strategy:

Traditional Japanese and South Korean brands are grappling with the rise of Chinese car sales, prompting them to reconsider their market positioning. Recognizing their inability to compete with Chinese brands on price, these established automakers are attempting to rebrand themselves as “premium” offerings to boost profit margins. This shift in strategy reflects their acknowledgement of the formidable competition posed by Chinese manufacturers, who benefit from lower manufacturing and labor costs.

The Impact on European Automakers:

Until recently, the European car companies had not been overly concerned about the rise of Chinese automakers, largely due to the slower penetration of Chinese car brands in the European market. However, the situation changed dramatically at this year’s Munich Motor Show, where the presence of Chinese cars triggered a reversal of roles.

Dramatic Reversal at the Munich Motor Show:

The Munich Motor Show is known for showcasing the latest models, design themes, and technologies in the automotive industry. In the past, engineers from Japanese and South Korean automakers were given priority access to new models, often resorting to taking samples or photographs for further analysis. However, at this year’s show, European engineers were seen closely examining and photographing Chinese cars, reflecting the growing concern and curiosity surrounding Chinese automakers.


The rapid rise of Chinese automakers presents a significant challenge to established car companies worldwide. With their lower manufacturing and labor costs, Chinese brands are able to offer competitive prices while maintaining quality. This disruption has forced traditional automakers to reevaluate their market strategies, attempting to reposition themselves as premium offerings to maintain profit margins. While these changes are currently more noticeable in the Australian market, it is only a matter of time before the impact is felt globally. The Munich Motor Show served as a stark reminder of the shifting dynamics in the global auto industry, with European engineers turning their attention to Chinese cars. As the rise of Chinese automakers continues, it remains to be seen how traditional car companies will navigate this new and challenging landscape.