Chinese auto manufacturing group BYD is reportedly considering expanding its European range with hybrid off-road models from its sub-brands Yangwang and Fangchengbao. The former is a 1200-hp luxury vehicle with tank turn capability, and the latter is a more affordable SUV that could rival the Toyota Land Cruiser and Land Rover Defender.
BYD is expanding aggressively and has become the world’s largest manufacturer of electric passenger vehicles in Q4 2023, with plans to become the overall number one by 2030. To achieve this, the Chinese group wants to expand its European offering, which currently consists of electric saloons and cross-overs with an excellent value-for-money proposition.
But BYD wants to see if European customers are also interested in Chinese models in other segments. According to Automobilwoche, the company is considering bringing its Yangwang U8 luxury off-road vehicle and the Fangchengbao Bao 5 SUV to Europe.
Yangwang U8: Big, heavy, powerful and luxurious
The Yangwang U8 is 5,3 meters long, weighs 3 460 kg, and is powered by an electric drivetrain with a combustion engine acting as a generator. The four electric motors deliver up to 880 kW (1 196 hp) and allow for ‘tank turns’, where the car can spin on its axle.
According to BYD, the U8 can float in water for 30 minutes. It is also one of the most expensive Chinese-built vehicles, at 1 089 000 RMB (€139 250), so it would compete against other high-end SUVs such as the Range Rover, BMW X7, and Mercedes GLS.
Fangchengbao Bao 5: terrain-ready hybrid SUV
The Fangchengbao Bao 5 is, in comparison, a more reasonable offering. It also features a plug-in hybrid drivetrain with up to 505 kW (687 hp) of combined power. The Bao 5 is built to be capable in rough terrain, with approach and departure angles of 35 and 32 degrees, respectively, and height-adjustable suspension.
It has a base price of 289 800 RMB in China (€37 000), which, after shipping, import fees, and European taxes, would put it against the Toyota Land Cruiser, Land Rover Defender, and Jeep Wrangler regarding pricing.
It has not yet been decided if BYD will launch both models in Europe, but to gauge interest, the Yangwang U8 is coming to the Geneva Motor Show at the end of February 2024.