The US has announced it is opening an investigation into whether vehicles imported from China pose a national security threat. 

In a statement released by the White House last week, it said that “connected vehicles from China could collect sensitive data” about US citizens and infrastructure, which could be sent back to the People’s Republic of China.”

“These vehicles could be remotely accessed or disabled,” it continued.

President Joe Biden has directed the Secretary of Commerce to conduct the investigation.

In response to the announcement, in regular press briefing, China foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said that Chinese cars were popular globally because they were “technologically innovative” and had “emerged out of fierce market competition,” rather than because of the “so-called unfair practices” cited by the White House.

Ms Ning continued: “China’s door has been open to global auto companies, including US auto companies who fully shared in the dividends of China’s big market”. She urged the US to “respect the laws of market economy and the principles of fair competition.”

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There are few Chinese vehicles imported into the US, with EV makers such as BYD focusing on Europe and southeast Asia for its largest export markets.

Last month it was reported that the auto industry in Europe was bracing for a Chinese export offensive, led by cheap EVs from automakers such as BYD.

Speaking to Just Auto, GlobalData analyst Justin Cox said: “The subsidies and incentives offered by national governments are going to be important.”