'China has always found a way to come to Europe': Chinese EVs rolled out in Bulgaria

On a grey December morning, a final electric vehicle is unloaded from a truck on the outskirts of the Bulgarian capital Sofia. It is a 'Free' by Voyah, a high-end brand of China's third-largest automotive group, Dongfeng. In a matter of days these cars will be for sale in Bulgaria.

While the EU Commission has announced an investigation into the import of Chinese battery-powered electric vehicles, or BEVs, many in Europe are welcoming those very imports.

They see Chinese BEVs as a welcome addition to the EU's very competitive automotive market. Julian Chebishev, whose company represents Dongfeng in Bulgaria says it decided to switch from traditional legacy carmakers to Chinese ones. And the EU's investigation into the Chinese BEVs imports doesn't worry him.

Voyah, a high-end brand of China's third-largest automotive group, Dongfeng, is importing EVs to Bulgaria. /CGTN

"Europe and China are, in one way or another, very much linked," he explains, "which means if you cut the tree that you are sitting on, everybody will fall."

Meanwhile, the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy has praised its growing economic relations with China. And it shares a similar opinion to Chebishev about the future of Chinese BEV imports to the EU.

"I believe that China has always found a way to come to Europe, and that sooner or later they are going to find a way to sell the cars here," Ivaylo Shotev, Bulgaria's deputy economics minister told CGTN.

"Our major partner is the European Union, it is our economic block. So, of course our relationship has to be viewed through the prism of their relationship between European Union and China," he added.

The EU's investigation into state subsidies for Chinese car exports might last up to 13 months. The issue will likely be on the table at the China-EU discussions during that period.

While the politicians debate this, Chinese carmakers will continue to offer their top-quality BEVs to the world. Dongfeng, together with local Bulgarian distributors, hope the brand will open doors for many other Dongfeng brands, not just locally but also in the EU, and other European countries, like Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania and others.

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