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Tesla, Chinese EV Brands Jostle for Limelight at German Fair

MUNICH, GERMANY — One of the world’s biggest auto shows opened in Munich on Monday, with Tesla ending a 10-year absence to jostle for the spotlight with Chinese rivals as the race for electric dominance heats up.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz will officially inaugurate the IAA mobility show, held in Germany every two years, on Tuesday.

But carmakers used Monday’s press preview as an early chance to show off some of the new models that will be hitting the road soon.

The industry-wide shift towards electric vehicles will be front and center at this week’s fair, with Chinese carmakers out in force as they eye the European market.

U.S. electric car pioneer Tesla, owned by Elon Musk, will return to the IAA for the first time since 2013 and is expected to unveil a revamped version of its mass-market Model 3.

That Tesla, usually a holdout at such events, is coming to Munich shows it is taking the growing competition seriously, said Jan Burgard from the Berylls automotive consulting group.

“The electric car market with its many new players will be divvied up over the next few years and people want to know: who is offering what?” Burgard told the Handelsblatt financial daily.

Having captured an increasingly large part of the prized Chinese market, Chinese upstarts are now hoping to win over European customers with cheaper electric cars.

Chinese manufacturers are starting “their assault on Europe with the IAA”, said industry analyst Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer from the Center Automotive Research in Germany.

Muted European presence

Chinese groups benefit from lower production costs, allowing them to offer cut-throat prices at a time when entry-level EVs are still a rarity.

Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Kallenius said it was necessary for European firms to stay competitive in the face of stiff competition.

“Don’t make it worse. Don’t start a debate that we should work less hours at the same pay, those types of things. That would be going the wrong direction,” Kallenius told reporters at the IAA on Sunday.

Volkswagen CEO Oliver Blume meanwhile said he was “impressed” by the speed at which China had advanced its electric car technology.

Source : VOA News

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