LONDON — When Laima Springe-Janssen was looking to replace her French-made gasoline-powered SUV with an electric car, she considered models from Volvo and Nissan.
The Volvo extras she wanted would have busted her budget, while the Nissan lacked the “wow factor.” The Copenhagen, Denmark, resident ended up buying a compact SUV from China’s BYD.
“I really, really love the car,” Springe-Janssen said. For the equivalent of about $50,000, the Atto 3 SUV came with “all these goodies” like a 360-degree dash cam, two years of free charging and an extra set of winter tires.
Her husband likes it so much he’s considering buying another BYD to replace their other car, from Volkswagen’s Skoda brand.
“I’m sorry, Europe. Go home,” she said. “China has a better offer.”
Her enthusiasm underscores how Chinese automakers are winning over drivers as they make major inroads into Europe’s electric vehicle market, challenging long-established homegrown brands in an industry that’s key to the continent’s green energy transition.
The competitive threat has spurred the European Union to launch an investigation into Beijing’s support for its EV industry. That adds to tech-related tensions between the West and China, which is one of Europe’s biggest trading partners and the world’s biggest auto market.