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Great Wall Motor closes its European headquarters!

2024-06-25 Update From: AutoBeta NAV: AutoBeta > News >


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Great Wall Motor plans to close its European headquarters in Munich, Germany, and lay off all 100 employees by the end of August, according to several foreign media reports such as the European Automotive News. Great Wall Motor informed employees and business partners of the move on Tuesday, and Steffen Cost, chief commercial officer of Great Wall Motor's European headquarters, and his senior team were all on the suspension list of Great Wall Motor Europe at the end of August, according to the German magazine Manager.

Although Great Wall plans to close its headquarters in Munich and stop expanding into other European countries, Great Wall has no plans to withdraw from the European market. According to the plan, Great Wall will continue to develop in existing markets, including Germany, the UK, Ireland, Sweden and Israel, but its European operations will be managed by its Chinese headquarters. previous plans to enter new European markets, including Austria and Sweden, have also been shelved, at least not for the time being.

A spokesman for Great Wall Europe said, "this is more about the organization and optimization of the difficult market environment." The slowdown in the European electric car market, especially in Germany, the sharp discounts offered by competitors and the possibility of punitive tariffs following the EU countervailing investigation into Chinese electric vehicles have created a very high level of uncertainty for companies like us that have electric vehicle portfolios. "

It is understood that Great Wall announced the establishment of its European headquarters in Munich, Germany in November 2021, aimed at accelerating the European strategic landing of Great Wall Motors. The European headquarters of Great Wall Motor in Munich will cover important aspects such as research and development, sales and management. Especially in R & D, the European headquarters will focus on vehicle integration, vehicle parts development, electronic power system platform development and integration, intelligent driving and vehicle networking and other areas. In addition to setting up its European headquarters, Great Wall also opened a German subsidiary in Munich.

In September 2021, Great Wall released its European market strategic plan at the 2021 Munich Motor Show, officially announcing its entry into the European luxury car market and new energy vehicle market. Great Wall said that Eula 07, or Lightning Cat, still plans to go public in Germany and the UK.

According to a spokesman for Great Wall Europe, there are two main reasons for Great Wall's closure of its headquarters in Munich: the hindrance to the development of Great Wall in the European market and the EU's countervailing investigation into electric vehicles from China.

In terms of sales, according to Dataforce, an European market research firm, Great Wall sold 1621 vehicles in the European market from January to April 2024, although it increased by 147% year-on-year, but the overall size of the European market is still very small. According to official figures from Great Wall, the European market accounted for only 1 per cent of the 128919 units sold overseas from January to April 2024, while the target for overseas sales of Great Wall in 2024 is 500000, with a current completion rate of 25 per cent.

In addition, an EU countervailing investigation into Chinese new energy vehicles could accelerate Great Wall's plans to build a plant in Europe to avoid the impact of possible future tariffs on costs and prices. On March 5, 2024, the European Commission issued an emergency notice to implement regulations on the import registration of electric vehicles in China. The next day, EU customs registered the import of Chinese electric vehicles for a period of nine months. In addition, it is reported that the European Commission will announce a preliminary decision on possible temporary tariffs on electric vehicles imported from China on June 5, 2024 local time. To that end, Great Wall also plans to export fuel vehicles to Europe that are not affected by tariff increases.

However, European companies are more eager to stay in China than Chinese cars that want to enter the European market. Oliver Zipse, chairman of BMW Group, warned that "the EU will soon lift a rock and shoot itself in the foot"; CEO Thomas Sch ä fer, a Volkswagen passenger car brand, also warned that "there will always be some kind of retaliation"; O1a Kallenius, chief executive of Mercedes-Benz, called on the EU to take a long-term view, saying "protectionism is going the wrong way".

BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen have regarded China as their second hometown, chanting the slogan "Home in China", while Stellantis has engaged in deep cooperation with zero-running cars. The German auto industry cannot do without the Chinese car market, and their appeal is believed to be effective to some extent, but it is still unknown how much effect it will have.

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