The threat of EU import duties on electric cars from China could put Munich-based car manufacturer BMW in a tight spot.

Its joint venture with the Chinese group Great Wall Motor, which produces the electric Mini Cooper in the People's Republic, is not on the list of companies for which the EU Commission wants to apply a lower tariff. The list, which was published on Wednesday, only includes BMW Brilliance, which manufactures the iX3 SUV in China and imports it to Europe.

Despite warnings from the German car industry, the EU Commission announced special tariffs on electric car imports from China on Wednesday, justifying the move with distortions of competition due to high state subsidies in the People's Republic. In addition to the standard rate of ten percent, different tariffs are to be levied - 21 percent if a company cooperates with the EU's inspection, and up to 38.1 percent if it does not. However, the tariffs not only affect Chinese companies, but also e-cars produced in China by Western manufacturers that are imported to Europe from the People's Republic. In addition to German car manufacturers, this also includes the US company Tesla. It has already announced that it will increase the price of the Model 3 produced in Shanghai if the tariffs are imposed.

BMW is currently only producing the new electric Mini Cooper in China. The Munich-based company has founded the joint venture "Spotlight Automotive" with the Chinese group Great Wall Motor. The vehicles have only been rolling off the production line there for a few months. Accordingly, much of the data on production volumes and sales figures requested by the EU is not yet available. Only combustion models of the cult car are currently being produced in Oxford in the UK, with electric vehicles to be added from 2026. The first electric Mini, the predecessor of the current generation, is one of the Munich-based car manufacturer's best-selling electric car models. In this respect, high tariffs for this model would hit BWM particularly hard.

The company declined to comment on the issue. In response to the EU Commission's tariff announcement, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse stated that the decision to impose additional import duties was the wrong approach. "The EU Commission is damaging European companies and European interests." He went on to say that protectionism runs the risk of triggering a spiral of tariffs and new tariffs.

(Report by Christina Amann, edited by Sabine Wollrab. If you have any queries, please contact our editorial team at (for politics and the economy) or (for companies and markets)