BYD is running into some new obstacles as it expands its footprint in the Chinese and overseas markets. Chinese-made BYD models shipped to Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia are plagued with quality issues, The Wall Street Journal said in its latest report.

The Warren Buffet-backed automaker had a record sales year in 2023, dethroning Tesla as the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer. It was also the third largest automaker by market capitalization as of the end of last year, right behind Tesla and Toyota.

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Chinese EVs are electrifying global car markets.

Cheap and well-made Chinese EVs are transforming EV markets in Asia, the Middle East, and South America. BYD is at the forefront of this with models like BYD Seal, Dolphin, and Atto 3 gaining popularity worldwide. 

The recent report states that export vehicles from China require several fixes and repairs when they arrive at their destination. Vehicles that landed in Japan had scratches, and the ones that arrived in Europe had mold, the report stated.

While mold can be a common occurrence in cars, especially when they’re stored for a long duration in humid weather, the issue with BYD cars in Europe was that they didn’t receive the proper treatment to have the mold removed.

In Thailand, where Chinese EVs have taken the domestic automotive market by storm, BYD’s quality issues seem to be mounting. Complaints of paint and plastic peeling have become public. Meanwhile, in Israel, BYD EVs are reported to have warped under the weight of roof racks.

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These seem like logistics-related issues, rather than manufacturing defects. A BYD executive told WSJ that the issues were equivalent to “going to a decent restaurant but finding that the plate is chipped.” Some 10,000 BYD cars are estimated to be parked in European warehouses, where they have been waiting to be sold since the end of last year.

Maintaining tight quality control across the global shipping route might be a new challenge for BYD. But it’s too early to gauge if these quality problems are false alarms or something BYD needs to take very seriously.

The automaker’s sales slumped in February 2024 due to an industry-wide slowdown. It is also expected to miss its internal target of selling over 400,000 cars in international markets this year.

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