BARCELONA -- Chinese automakers will use low labor rates and government support to grow dramatically over the next decade, but they "should not be that much concern to western European automakers," AT Kearney Vice President Philip Dunne said Thursday.
"European automakers are used to working globally," Dunne noted during the Automotive News Europe Congress Thursday. In the short term, western automakers need to source parts from low-wage countries and produce in the markets they sell in in order to keep prices competitive with manufacturers in China and other low-wage countries.
European automakers already in China also should focus resources on making their operations in China leaner and more efficient, he said, in order to maintain their head start in the market.
Dunn said premium European brands can temporarily remain western European focused. But even they must eventually adopt a more global perspective, which includes operating in China, he said.
He also offered two suggestions for European suppliers: "Learn Mandarin and keep tight control of your intellectual property rights."