Chinese EV-Makers Poised to Dominate India?

Chinese EV-Makers Poised to Dominate India?

With the Indian government’s focus on boosting domestic EV manufacturing and the favourable conditions for Chinese auto firms, the Chinese presence in the Indian EV market is set to grow significantly. Is the Indian EV market poised for a transformation?


The Indian government’s recent electric vehicle (EV) policy has opened doors for global EV manufacturers, including Tesla, to enter the Indian market. The policy offers incentives such as concessional tariffs and reduced customs duty to attract foreign companies to establish manufacturing facilities in India. However, this policy has also sparked a debate on whether it will pose a threat to Indian players, particularly Tata Motors, which currently dominates the Indian EV market with over a 70% share.

Significantly, India’s efforts to boost the EV market are expected to pave the way for a major influx of Chinese auto firms into the Indian market. China’s robust EV industry, fuelled by substantial state support and advanced technology, positions it as a leading exporter of EVs and related components. The confluence of India’s push for e-vehicle manufacturing and the private sector’s endeavours is projected to result in a heightened reliance on auto component imports from China. As a result, Chinese EV manufacturers are poised to dominate the Indian EV market, potentially accounting for a significant share of passenger and commercial vehicles on Indian roads.

China rules in EV technology &production

China has emerged as a global leader in electric vehicle technology, boasting 75% of the world’s battery production capacity. Since batteries constitute a substantial portion of EV costs, China’s dominance in this area gives it a significant advantage. Moreover, it accounts for over 50% of global EV production and exports, reinforcing its position as a major player in the EV market.

Chinese entry into the Indian market

Chinese automakers – including SAIC Motor, BYD Auto, Changan Automobile, Jinko Solar, Great Wall Motors, and Haima Automobile– have already established a presence in India. Joint ventures and partnerships with Indian firms have facilitated Chinese companies’ entry into the Indian market. For instance, JSW MG Motor India, a joint venture between China’s SAIC and Indian conglomerate JSW Group, has announced substantial investments in production capacity enhancement and new vehicle launches. The joint venture aims to sell one million units of passenger electric vehicles in India by 2030.

Competition and pricing dynamics

While Tesla’s entry into the Indian market has garnered attention, Chinese automakers such as BYD Auto have already made significant strides. BYD’s Seal mid-size sedan, based on its e-Platform 3.0, is positioned as a rival to Tesla’s Model 3. Chinese automakers like BYD offer a range of EVs, including affordable options, making them competitive in the price-sensitive Indian market. This pricing advantage, coupled with their expertise in battery technology, poses a formidable challenge to international players like Tesla.

Impact on Indian manufacturers and the EV value chain

The increasing dominance of Chinese automakers in the Indian market raises concerns for domestic auto and EV manufacturers, as well as firms involved in the EV value chain. The dependence on Chinese imports for auto components is expected to rise sharply, potentially impacting the competitiveness of Indian manufacturers. This scenario necessitates careful management of the risks associated with over-reliance on foreign manufacturers and potential trade imbalances.

  • Competition and Market Share Erosion: Chinese automakers, backed by robust technology and competitive pricing, may capture a significant portion of the Indian EV market. This could result in Indian manufacturers losing market share and facing intense competition, especially if they struggle to match the quality, pricing, and range offered by Chinese EVs.
  • Dependency on Chinese Auto Components: Indian manufacturers might become heavily reliant on Chinese imports for key components and technologies required for EV manufacturing. This dependence can lead to supply chain vulnerabilities, especially if there are disruptions in the Chinese market or changes in trade policies. It may also limit the ability of Indian manufacturers to innovate and differentiate their products.
  • Intellectual Property Concerns: Chinese automakers have made substantial advancements in EV technology and hold numerous patents in areas such as battery technology and electric drivetrains. Indian manufacturers may face challenges in developing their own proprietary technology and could potentially face intellectual property disputes if they attempt to replicate or modify Chinese technologies.
  • Trade Imbalances: The dominance of Chinese automakers in the Indian market could exacerbate trade imbalances between the two countries. If India becomes heavily reliant on Chinese imports for EVs and components, it may lead to a significant outflow of capital and a trade deficit. This could have broader economic implications and impact the domestic manufacturing sector.
  • Brand Perception and Trust: Chinese automakers, despite their technological advancements, may face challenges in building brand perception and trust among Indian consumers. Indian manufacturers with an established presence and reputation in the market might still hold an advantage in terms of customer loyalty and trust, but they will need to continuously innovate and adapt to remain competitive.
  • Policy and Regulatory Challenges: As Chinese automakers gain dominance in the Indian market, there might be increased scrutiny and regulatory challenges related to issues such as product quality, safety standards, and compliance. The Indian government may need to implement stringent regulations and quality control measures to ensure consumer protection and a level playing field.

To address these risks and challenges, Indian manufacturers can focus on enhancing their R&D capabilities, investing in advanced technologies, fostering strategic partnerships, and leveraging government support to develop a robust domestic EV ecosystem. Collaboration between Indian and Chinese manufacturers could also help in knowledge sharing and technology transfer, fostering a more balanced and mutually beneficial relationship in the EV market.

Poised for a transformation

With the Indian government’s focus on boosting domestic EV manufacturing and the favourable conditions for Chinese auto firms, the Chinese presence in the Indian EV market is set to grow significantly. China’s advanced EV technology, manufacturing capabilities, and competitive pricing provide an edge in capturing market share. While this presents challenges for Indian manufacturers, it also highlights the need for strategic management of dependencies and potential trade imbalances. The Indian EV market is poised for a transformation with Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers at the forefront of this revolution.


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