Chinese electric cars being written off for ’stupid reasons’

Auto Express investigation raises concerns over parts shortages and a lack of information

Chinese electric cars being written off for ’stupid reasons’

Parts shortages and a lack of technical support mean some Chinese electric cars are ‘almost uninsurable’ in the UK.

This is according to an investigation by Auto Express.

It discovered “a lack of understanding about how Europe’s repair market works, and a failure to provide the correct parts and information that would allow cost-effective repairs to be carried out following accidents”.

Chinese brands either active or soon-to-be-present in the UK include AiWays, BYD, Chery (Omoda), Geely (Volvo and Polestar), Great Wall Motors (Great Wall and ORA), SAIC (Maxus and MG), HiPhi, Nio and Xpeng.

Ben Townsend, head of automotive at Thatcham Research, told Auto Express: “There’s fundamentally nothing wrong with the cars they’re making. They’re good products. BYD is the world’s largest battery manufacturer, the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer, and makes half the world’s iPads.”

It’s the lack of knowledge that’s causing concern. Martyn Rowley, executive director of the National Body Repair Association (NBRA) said: “We have repairers that have written that car off for stupid reasons, for something that would fly through a bodyshop if it were a Ford or a Vauxhall.

“Unfortunately you just can’t get parts; they’re not available for that vehicle [Great Wall Motors (GWM) Ora 03], which I think is ridiculous considering that these are multi-million-pound businesses.”

In response, a spokesperson for GWM Ora said: “We are aware that some of our customers are reporting restricted insurance options at the moment. We have taken a number of steps to improve this situation and we expect consumer insurance choice to improve very soon.”

In the UK, car insurance demands that a car is repaired to an approved manufacturer standard – a policy that doesn’t exist in China. This is causing problems in Europe because the Chinese manufacturers aren’t required to supply the information.

Ben Townsend added: “To repair a complete body side on a car is normal in China; if you have a side impact, they will just repair the whole body side because labour is so cheap. So they provide information to do a body-side repair in a UK bodyshop, but over here a body-side repair would end up writing the car off, because the labour cost makes it unviable.”

The Chinese company OMODA, which is about to launch the 5 SUV electric car, said: “We’ve been aware of the best practice for some time and are confident we’re well on our way to achieving that.

“Furthermore, we are well advanced in the other recommended areas, such as provision of information to assist with repair assessment, and a full manual to allow bodyshops to perform repairs. Our engineers in China are also working with Thatcham to integrate its further recommendations into future models.”

Source: Auto Express

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