BMW has requested the European Union to re-evaluate and lower the tariffs imposed on its China-made electric Mini vehicles imported to Europe, according to Reuters, but not confirmed by BMW Group. The company is aiming to reduce the duty level from 37.6% to 20.8% by having the model included among those that cooperated with the EU’s trade investigation. This move comes in response to the European Commission’s announcement of provisional duties on Chinese electric vehicle (EV) imports, which were set at varying rates based on the level of cooperation and perceived subsidies.

The tariffs were introduced following an investigation that found extensive subsidies in China’s BEV (battery electric vehicle) sector, leading to artificially low prices and unfair competition within the EU market. The investigation uncovered public funding across the entire BEV supply chain in China, from raw material mining to shipping services. This allowed Chinese BEV producers, including foreign brands manufacturing in China, to offer their vehicles at significantly lower prices than those produced within the EU, thereby capturing a substantial market share.

BMW’s electric MINI (codename J01), having only recently started production in China, was not included in the initial sample analysis, which automatically subjected it to the highest tariff rate. BMW allegedly expects that a formal process to appeal for lower duties will be available in the fall, once the final tariff measures are set. Companies that were not part of the initial sample groups can request an “accelerated review” to have their individual duty rates assessed following the imposition of definitive measures.

The provisional tariffs, effective from July 5, range from 17.4% for BYD to 37.6% for SAIC, with other cooperating manufacturers, including BMW and Tesla, facing a 20.8% duty. These measures are part of the EU’s broader strategy to address the surge in low-cost Chinese EV imports and protect its domestic industry from economic harm and job losses. But BMW has been quite vocal about maintaining a good relationship with China. BMW CEO sees the relations between BMW and China a win-win. BMW set a global sales record in 2023 when China was by far its largest individual market. A whopping 826,300 cars were delivered last year, and that wasn’t even the highest number ever. In 2021, BMW sold 847,900 vehicles in the country.

BMW is making a strategic move regarding the new J01 MINI Cooper Electric. The BMW Group is finalizing a £500-million investment plan for the Cowley factory, which equates to almost $595 million at current exchange rates. While MINI has not yet confirmed which specific electric models will be produced at this facility, it is anticipated that the Aceman and MINI Cooper EV will be among them.

[Source: Reuters]