Mercedes CEO wants open battle without import duties with China

‘The automotive world cannot be divided’

Ola Kallenius

Striking: Mercedes CEO Ola Källenius calls for an open economic playing field without obstacles, including for Chinese car brands.

According to Automotive News, Källenius calls this out following the report that the European Union is launching an investigation into possible unfair competition between Chinese brands and European car manufacturers. This could lead to higher import duties or other restrictions, as levies also apply to European cars sold in China.

That seems like good news for European brands, but with an intimately interwoven global economy, nothing is as simple as it seems. According to Bloomberg, Mercedes CEO Ola Källenius calls for a fair fight: “Open markets ensure growth and create wealth. Just keep the market open and let the different parties fight this battle out among themselves.”

This is of course not entirely without self-interest, because China is the largest sales market for Mercedes and it also sells Chinese cars in Europe through Smart (50 percent Geely, 50 percent Mercedes). Yet his call is not only important for Mercedes itself. Källenius also points out the sensitivities of the supply chain, which painfully surfaced during and after the corona pandemic.

Suppliers come from almost all car manufacturers, especially from China. The Swedish Mercedes CEO explains: “It is a complete illusion to think that you can divide the automotive world into different regions that have nothing to do with each other.”

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