Chinese Brand To Move In On Europe

Thu 25th Aug 2022

One of China’s biggest automotive brands is making moves in Europe, and has hinted that it could even start building cars on the continent.

BYD, a Chinese technology firm and automobile manufacturer, will be launching the Han sedan, Tang SUV, and Atto 3 crossover in the next four months.

Shenzhen, China's fourth largest city, where BYD currently manufactures its cars, will be the initial home for exporting the vehicles to the countries it is seeking to expand to: Scandinavia, Germany, Benelux, the UK, and Israel.

In Europe, BYD hopes to seize a large portion of the Tesla business by releasing three models that directly challenge Tesla's core vehicles. The Seal, a Tesla Model 3 equivalent, will be released in Europe soon after its initial Chinese market launch. Tesla, however, has a distinct advantage in Europe because of its long-standing presence in the region and its new factory in Germany, where it produces vehicles in mass quantities.

Tesla’s $5 billion (£4.2bn) Berlin facility, which was delayed in being commissioned, has quickly become central to Tesla's global production and is estimated to produce 500,000 vehicles annually. In addition to the roughly 500,000 cars the Fremont, California factory produces each year and the 750,000 cars produced annually in Shanghai, Tesla is estimated to produce 520,000 cars annually in Texas.

In the first half of 2022, BYD sold 641,350 ‘new energy vehicles’—a category that includes a limited number of plug-in hybrids and hydrogen cars—compared to Tesla's 564,000 units and plans to dramatically boost production in the months to come in order to sell two million NEVs by the end of the year.

Speaking to Autocar, BYD’s assistant general manager for Europe, Brian Yang said: “We are seriously thinking about some localisation plans. We don’t have a solid plan. We’ve just started to learn, to really understand the beliefs of our customers, and if everything goes well and we build up all the foundations and structure here, that could lead to some localisation.

“It will be done step by step."