A fierce new rival is set to enter the arena.
Geely, China's biggest carmaker and one of the companies with a dubious level of respect for copyright laws, is quite a powerhouse these days. It owns Volvo and by extension Polestar, and also controls Lotus. Each of those companies has electric vehicle programs or only makes EVs - Volvo will soon discontinue the combustion engine for good while Lotus is working on the Evija. Furthermore, Polestar's cars are produced in China, so it should be no surprise to learn that Geely officially wants to take on Tesla. According to the BBC, Geely is set to launch a premium electric car brand called Zeekr, and with access to the minds behind so many electrification projects, it should be a serious contender.
The news comes after Elon Musk had to refute claims that his company's cars are spying on the Chinese people, and analysts are pondering the possibility that the arrival of a new contender in the EV market is a way to reduce Tesla's influence in the Chinese market. After all, the Model 3 was the best-selling EV in China in 2020, but with Zeekr's first car to be based on an interesting concept, the Model 3 may lose some market share.
But things won't be easy for Zeekr, or indeed Tesla. Other Chinese groups that have started to show success in the country include Nio, Xpeng, and Li Auto, as well as Dongfeng Motor, which is partnered with Nissan and PSA Peugeot Citroen. While Zeekr plans to begin deliveries of its new vehicles in the third quarter of 2021, Dongfeng's new EV brand Voyah could start delivering to Chinese customers as soon as July.
But Geely is the one posing the biggest threat to Tesla's dominance. The company wants to become the first Chinese global automaker "with a reach similar to Volkswagen". To do that, Zeekr will have to make products good enough for the rest of the world. These are ambitious goals for these new brands, and it remains to be seen whether these new companies will be able to provide a good level of quality with all-new vehicles being developed in such a short timeframe. Either way, Tesla can't rest on its laurels. China is a massive market for the automaker, accounting for approximately 20 percent of the marque's global revenue last year ($31.5 billion), but with so many challengers to the throne, those numbers could drop. Good luck, Tesla.