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What If Every Car Is Made in China?

Key Participants:

Michael Granoff (managing partner Maniv),

Nate Picarsic,

Robbie Diamond (Safe),

Yoav Levy (Upstream).

As the global automotive landscape continues to evolve, the question "What If Every Car Is Made in China?" becomes increasingly pertinent. At Ecomotion Assembly 2024, we delved into this critical topic with a panel of distinguished experts led and facilitated by Michael Granoff (Managing Partner at Maniv), Nate Picarsic, Robbie Diamond (CEO of SAFE), and Yoav Levy (CEO of Upstream). Their insights highlighted the motivations, stakeholders, barriers, and actionable steps needed to navigate the complex dynamics of China’s burgeoning influence in the electric vehicle (EV) market.


Chinese carmakers produced more than half of all electric cars sold worldwide in 2023. (International Energy Agency Report, ‘Global EV Outlook 2024’). As we navigate disruptive and changing times across geopolitics and global economies, this discussion was driven by three key motivations:


1. Addressing Overwhelming Dominance: China’s auto industry has seen exponential growth over the past two decades. This poses a risk and potential threat to western countries automotive industries.


2. Rapid Market Expansion: China is excelling and expanding in the EV market. With projections indicating that Chinese electric cars will dominate up to 75% of the Israeli market by 2030, understanding this trend is vital for Western manufacturers and policymakers.


3. Competitive Economies: The United States, and the West in general, faces the challenge of competing with China’s massive market. This includes strategizing to ensure fair competition.


Collaboration is essential to address the challenges posed by China’s automotive industry dominance. The key stakeholders identified are:


- Governments (US and Western Governments including Israel): Policy and regulatory frameworks set by governments will play a crucial role in shaping the future of the automotive industry and ensuring fair competition.


- Manufacturers/OEMs: Western based Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) must consider how to adapt in an increasingly competitive market with Chinese manufacturers.


- Chinese Government: Engaging with the Chinese government is crucial, as their policies and strategic decisions will significantly impact global market dynamics.


- Cybersecurity Industry: As vehicles become more connected, ensuring robust cybersecurity measures is vital to protect data and maintain consumer trust amidst geopolitical tensions.


Despite the need for collaboration, several barriers exist:


1. Taxes and Tariffs: The complexity of taxes and tariffs poses a significant barrier. Balancing these to support domestic growth while not overburdening consumers is a delicate task.


2. Dependence on Raw Materials: There is a growing sense of dependence on China for raw materials. This dependency can lead to political and economic vulnerabilities, especially if China imposes restrictions.


3. Cybersecurity and Privacy Concerns: The integration of connected vehicles raises significant cybersecurity and privacy concerns. Determining the extent of data collection and ensuring data security within a context of global politics is essential.


Actions to Foster Collaboration


To overcome these barriers, speakers suggested several actionable steps:


1.     Promote Free Trade Systems: Encouraging China to engage in international free trade systems with transparent and fair rules can help level the playing field. Alternatively, creating an alliance of like-minded nations to uphold high standards in supply chain operations, labor, and inspections can foster a competitive but fair market environment.

2.     Enhance Security Measures: Investigating and ensuring robust security measures for data in connected vehicles is imperative. This includes understanding where data goes and implementing strict data protection regulations.

3.     Invest in Domestic Capabilities: Rather than outsourcing, investing in domestic manufacturing and innovation can bolster the quality and competitiveness of Western automotive industries. This approach, although potentially more costly initially, promises long-term benefits.


The session illuminated several critical points and raised essential questions about the future of the automotive industry in the context of China’s rise. The discussion underscored the complexity and urgency of the issue. By fostering collaboration among key stakeholders and addressing the identified barriers, the US and other Western nations can navigate the challenges posed by China’s growing automotive industry and ensure a competitive and secure future.


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