Report: China’s Cheap Electric Vehicles ‘Could Be Nightmare’ for American Auto Workers Without Steep Tariffs

A worker checks the quality of a new energy vehicle NEV at the plant of BYD, China's
Li Jianan/Xinhua via Getty Images

The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) premier automaker, BYD, is selling a $12,000 Electric Vehicle (EV) that “could be a nightmare” for the United States auto industry without an all-out ban or steeper tariffs on such cars made by Chinese companies.

A report from the Detroit News, which interviewed several industry insiders, details the impact that BYD’s all-electric Seagull — which sells for just $12,000 in China and about $21,000 in Latin America — may have on American auto workers without fierce trade protections.

Currently, former President Donald Trump’s 25 percent tariffs on China-made cars are the only reason BYD and other Chinese automakers have not flooded the U.S. market with cheap EVs to sell to American consumers.

AutoForecast Solutions Vice President Sam Fiorani told the Detroit News that “BYD’s entry into the U.S. market isn’t an if, it’s a when.” The results, the Detroit News reports, “could be a nightmare for the U.S. auto industry.”

After immense pressure from Democrats and Republicans, President Joe Biden announced more than 100 percent tariffs on China-made EVs, 50 percent tariffs on solar cell imports, 25 percent tariffs on some Chinese steel and aluminum imports, and 25 percent tariffs on imported lithium-ion batteries needed for EVs.

The tariffs, though, will not impact EVs made in other countries by Chinese automakers. For example, BYD is planning a factory in Mexico to produce its cheap EVs. Currently, those cars could be sold in the U.S. market facing hardly any tariffs.

Trump, who has called for across-the-board tariffs on all imports, said Biden’s increasing tariffs on China “should have [been] done … a long time ago” to protect American auto workers from unfair trade practices.

“It should have been done three and a half years ago,” Trump said Wednesday.

In March, Trump warned that Chinese automakers’ attempt to use Mexico as a backdoor to sell their cars in the U.S. market tariff-free would be “a bloodbath” for American auto workers — vowing to stop any such plans.

Trump said:

Let me tell you something to China, if you’re listening President Xi — and you and I are friends but he understands the way I deal — those big, monster car manufacturing plants that you’re building in Mexico right now, and you think you’re going to get that and you’re going to not hire Americans and you’re going to sell the cars to us, no. [Emphasis added]

We’re going to put a 100 percent tariff on every single car that comes across the line. And you’re not going to be able to sell those cars if I get elected. Now if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a bloodbath for the whole, that’s going to be the least of it, it’s going to be a bloodbath for the country; that’s going to be the least of it. [Emphasis added]

Industry experts, auto executives, auto workers, Democrats, and Republicans agreed with Trump at the time. Research from the Alliance for American Manufacturing, for example, has suggested that “the introduction of cheap Chinese autos … to the American market could end up being an extinction-level event for the U.S. auto sector…”

One Chinese auto executive was candid this year when he told employees that 2024 “marks the beginning of a fierce competition that may end in a ‘bloodbath’ (or as I prefer to call it, the brutal ‘knockout round’) among Chinese automakers” against the U.S. auto industry.

While not yet in the U.S. market, BYD is already flourishing around the world. Last year, for instance, the Chinese automaker sold three million vehicles and it counts Thailand and Brazil as its top markets so far this year.

Today, China has become the world’s top exporter of cars — surpassing Japan — while BYD has become the world’s biggest seller of EVs, beating U.S.-based Tesla for the top honor.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here.


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