Europe’s investigation of cheap electric vehicles from China is appreciated, a little late and will not be enough on its own to reverse the region’s fortunes, according to Roberto Vavassori, the president of Italy’s automotive industry association.
The car sector is in trouble in part because the European Union is trying to regulate its way to an all-electric future without appreciating the implications for industry, Roberto Vavassori, the head of the trade association known as Anfia and an executive director of braking supplier Brembo, told Bloomberg News in an interview.
Here are highlights from the conversation, which have been edited for length and clarity:
Are you relieved by the probe announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen?
The probe is certainly welcome, but it also certainly comes at least a year and a half too late. A serious and efficient probe should have taken place quietly. I would have liked seeing this declaration accompanied by some probe results. Now that ships full of Chinese EVs have left their shores and are heading toward Hamburg and other European ports, it’s a bit late to flag that we are starting a probe, especially at a time of very delicate political and trade relations between Europe and China.
There are things we should have done years ago, first of all putting in place equal tariffs for European cars going to China and Chinese cars coming to Europe.
Is this probe a win for France, or the result of collective action?
This is not about France versus Germany. We should stop thinking in this partisan way.
It’s true that German carmakers have bigger auto investments in China than French ones, but it was not only the French pushing for this probe. We should not once again fall into the trap of polarization, of us-versus-them. It will not get us far.