SHANGHAI -- Europe's entry-level EV market is an "open lane" for Chinese automakers, said Patrick Koller, CEO of French auto supplier Faurecia.
Koller's comments as Chinese automakers such as BYD unveiled affordable all-electric cars that many plan to export to Europe where EV sales are booming.
“I think an attractive car for Chinese consumers will be an attractive car for a European consumer,” he told Reuters at the auto show here.
Koller said he had met with the bosses of more than two dozen Chinese automakers in Shanghai. Many are looking to export to Europe, he said.
Because of their "fantastic competitive advantage," Koller predicted Chinese automakers could look to sell 1 million vehicles per year in Europe, equivalent to 8 percent of the market last year.
BYD, China's largest EV maker, unveiled the Seagull at the show, shocking analysts and rivals with the car's starting price of just over $11,000 – about a quarter of the price of most EVs now on the market in Europe.
The Shanghai show and the Seagull highlight a new dynamic: Chinese automakers are now leading the world in making EVs that compete on price and technology for the average budget.
And many more of those EVs will be headed to Europe, Southeast Asia and other overseas markets, threatening established automakers, executives and analysts said.