BYD is preparing to launch several electrified vehicles in Europe over the course of the next 12 months, but according to a recent report, it may also be looking to start manufacturing the vehicles it sells on the continent locally. No clear plans were laid out, but the a high ranking company official did confirm the prospect was of much interest for the company.
Autocar spoke to Brian Yang, who is assistant general manager for BYD Europe, and when asked about possibly localising production to Europe, he 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.
BYD is a global leader when it comes to selling what in China are called “new energy vehicles” (or NEVs for short, a term which encompasses EVs, PHEVs and fuel cell electric vehicles). In the first six months of 2022, BYD sold almost 650,000 NEVs, which it currently builds at its five factories, all of which are located in China. It also builds battery packs for other automakers' EVs, including Tesla.
If BYD did go ahead with plans to build a plant in Europe, it could seek partnership with an established automaker that’s already active on the Old Continent. This is nowhere near as common as European manufacturers signing joint ventures to help them build cars cheaper in China, but BYD isn’t the only automaker that has expressed a desire to build cars in Europe with the help of a local partner.
Nio, for instance, has also announced European manufacturing ambitions and it strongly suggested that it would work with a local OEM to make it happen. However, since Nio made this publich, it has only confirmed the opening of its Nio Power Europe Plant in Hungary (focused on battery swapping stations, not building cars) and the announcement for an actual car manufacturing location and local partners is yet to come.