Volkswagen, Porsche killing old models—creating new opportunity for BYD


European automakers are killing off their old models as the EU and UN combine to introduce strict cybersecurity rules, but the new regulations may be the latest boon for infiltrating Chinese brands.

The UN is launching new cybersecurity rules called UN R155 which the EU will implement from July 7. 

It means drivers on European roads will have to get used to not seeing some formerly innovative cars, including Volkswagen’s up! and certain versions of Porsche’s Cayman.

It’s also the latest sign of European cars slowly disappearing from their native roads, while Chinese automakers like BYD rush in to fill the gap for bargain-hunting consumers.

‘Spying machines on four wheels’

Thanks to the rapid growth in sophistication of cars, older models aren’t equipped with the requisite safeguards to prevent things like cyber attacks. 

Experts have been vigilant in their warnings about the potential for the next-gen vehicles of yesterday to do untold damage to their drivers and pedestrians.

“It’s about sensitive data that can be siphoned off—especially with electric cars. From the perspective of intelligence agencies, these cars, with their many sensors and cameras, are nothing but spying machines on four wheels,” German economist Moritz Schularick told Handelsblatt in March. 

Because the cost of reconfiguring the cars would be prohibitive, European automakers are instead choosing to discontinue cars that don’t meet the EU’s standards, the Wall Street Journal reported.  

Volkswagen’s up! car is set to meet an end 12 years after its launch, while the Transporter T6.1 van is also being discontinued. 

In February, Forbes reported that the cybersecurity rules would also put a stop to the production of Porsche’s 718 Cayman and Boxster cars. The luxury automakers will only sell combustion engine versions of these cars in some jurisdictions, including North America. 

A move to remove old models could be the latest shock to demand-supply dynamics, giving cheap Chinese manufacturers like BYD another push into the European market.

Speaking to Fortune last week, Nigel Griffiths, director of auto vehicle forecasting at S&P Global Mobility, said BYD initially benefitted from a swathe of issues confronting Europe’s carmakers during the pandemic years.

This included the semiconductor crisis, which forced carmakers to cut out production of C-class brands, offering BYD the opportunity of an impatient customer base.

The cost of living crisis exacerbated these trends, Griffiths pointed out, creating a perfect storm for Europe’s automakers. 

“Compact and midsize SUVs, and so on, are substantially discounted for by European consumers and it’s a strong value proposition. And those are the ones that Europe has to be really worried about,” he said. 

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