Renault Chairman Warns of Supply-Chain ‘Chinese Storm’

Jean-Dominique Senard says China's restrictions on the export of gallium and germanium could cripple European electric-vehicle and semiconductor manufacturing.

Greg Kable

July 17, 2023

1 Min Read
Renault EVs
Renault chief concerned about keeping company’s BEVs running.Renault

Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard warns China’s recently enacted restrictions on exports of gallium and germanium, two precious metals used in the manufacturing of electric vehicles and semiconductors, create a “Chinese storm” for the European automaking industry.

Senard tells Reuters the export restrictions lay bare Europe's overreliance on China for precious metals. He also raises concerns about the need for European automakers to establish costly new supply chains.

“When I talk about a Chinese storm, I’m talking about the strong pressure today related to Chinese (electric-) vehicle exports into Europe,” Senard says, adding, “We are capable of making electric vehicles, but we are fighting to ensure the safety of our supplies.”

Jean-dominique Senard-renault.jpg

Jean-dominique Senard-renault

The Renault chairman (pictured, left) indicates the existing supply chain for raw materials has resulted from years of investment that would cost billions of euros to replicate.

China’s export restrictions for gallium and germanium are escalating a technology conflict with the U.S., potentially causing further disruption to automotive supply chains, which are only now beginning to recover after the ravages of the COVID pandemic.

Europe's automakers find themselves in the middle of the Chinese and U.S. export restrictions, with no alternative but to seek new suppliers.

“If there’s a real geopolitical crisis, the damage to battery factories solely powered by products coming from outside will be considerable,” Senard warns.

“As any careful manufacturer would do, we are looking for alternatives to avoid paralyzing the country if, for example, we run out of batteries,” he says.


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