BYD: ‘News on European plant before end 2023’

With six electric vehicles on the stand, a world debut for the Seal U, and the European launch of its new brand Denza, China’s largest EV maker, BYD wowed the crowds at the IAA Mobility in Munich. In the backyard of the German premium carmakers, the boss of BYD Europe also announced that the final designation of a local assembly plant is near.

“If you want to be successful in a market in the long term, you need localization,” said Shu to German newspaper Handelsblatt. “This also applies to having your own production. We are confident that we will have news on this in Europe by the end of the year.”

Not in the UK

BYD is planning at least one car factory in the EU, though earlier quotes from vice-president Stella Li have mentioned two units, with a targeted start of production by 2025.

The candidate countries are Spain, France, and Germany. The company declared that the UK is out of the picture because of Brexit complexities. In Hungary, BYD already operates an assembly unit for its bus department.

The expansion strategy for BYD in Europe relies on building new factories instead of refurbishing old ones. This choice forms the cornerstone of their conquest model.

At the IAA, Shu told journalists that his company aims to become “the leading international manufacturer in Germany”. Only time will tell whether that means a market share of four, five, or six percent. BYD won’t commit to a fixed sales goal regarding the European market being “too uncertain” at this point.

Prices for the Seal

The stars at the booth of BYD in Munich are the Seal, and its SUV derivative, the Seal U. More info about the specifications of its Tesla Model Y rival is expected nearer to the official unveiling for 2024. However, BYD did release pricing for the regular Seal in Belgium.

The model is available in two trims: Design and Excellence. The first starts at 46 990 euros, or about 1 000 euros more expensive than the base version of the all-new Model 3.

The second, featuring all-wheel drive, comes at 51 990 euros, or 2 000 euros cheaper than its Tesla rival. The first dealer deliveries of the BYD SEAL will be in Q4, 2023, with end-user customer deliveries from November.

Many EVs have limited lacquering options, but BYD offers a choice of six body colors and two interior trim colors. All versions feature a six-year manufacturer’s warranty and eight years for the battery and electric motor.

First time outside China

At the IAA, the Chinese carmakers didn’t fail to seize the opportunity and showcase their technology and ambitions for the European market. Battery maker CATL and compatriot MG accompanied BYD.

At the CATL’s stand, visitors could see the Shenxing LFP battery, promising 700 kilometers on a single charge. MG hit the legacy car brands in their hearts with the European premiere of the Cyberster, the first all-electric production-ready roadster.

The boldest writing on the wall for the affiliation with the EU marketplace came from the World New Energy Congress (WNEC), which was organized outside of China for the first time.

As many German car brands hold stakes in their Chinese counterparts, the congress was held at the IAA in Munich to strengthen “Chinese-German cooperation”.


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