Tesla and European automakers that export from China to the European Union will be part of the bloc's probe into whether the country's electric vehicles industry is receiving unfair subsidies, the Financial Times reported, citing Brussels' most senior trade official.
The European Commission has launched an investigation into whether to impose punitive tariffs to protect EU producers against cheaper Chinese EV imports that it says are benefiting from state subsidies.
EU executive vice president Valdis Dombrovskis said the probe is not limited to EVs from Chinese brands.
"It can be also other producers’ vehicles if they are receiving production-side subsidies,” Dombrovskis told the Financial Times.
Tesla exports the Model 3 to Europe from its Shanghai plant, Renault exports the Dacia Spring EV to Europe from China, BMW exports its China-built iX3 EV to Europe and some Volvo models as well as Polestar models sold in Europe are built in China.
During the evidence-gathering that precipitated the EU's announcement this month of its anti-subsidy probe into Chinese EVs, Tesla was among the companies found to have likely benefited, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
The aim of the EU's investigation will be to determine whether, and to what degree, China has subsidized Tesla and domestic manufacturers including BYD, SAIC Motor and Nio, and to take any necessary counter measures to level the playing field for the EU's industry, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations.
Tesla started exporting Model 3 sedans built at its Shanghai factory in late 2020, less than a year after starting production at its first car plant outside of the U.S. By July 2021, Tesla referred to the facility as its primary vehicle export hub.
Through the first seven months, Tesla sold an estimated 93,700 China-made vehicles across Western Europe, accounting for roughly 47 percent of its total deliveries, according to Schmidt Automotive Research. The next biggest exporter of EVs from China to Europe was SAIC's MG, with roughly 57,500 registrations.