BYD is really on the world-domination path here. Last week, it officially opened its first store in the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago, with plans to expand to Jamaica, Barbados, and the Cayman Islands. But BYD’s most important news comes from the sales of its Qin L PHEV sedan. The brand has sold more than 5,000 in three days. That’s impressive, but could it be the beginning of the end for small Western sedans in China?

According to CarNewsChina, BYD’s consistently been selling both the Qin L and Seal 06 compact PHEV sedans since BYD’s chairman Wang Chuanfu’s personally handed over the first few keys to owners on May 28th. Since then, BYD stores have been full of interested buyers signing and driving on the sedans.

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BYD wants to grow its sales by for 2024

BYD had its best sales year ever in 2023, but it has plans to grow those figures 20% for 2024. Despite slowdowns in China, it has continued to launch new products and move into more markets in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. 

Real-world testing results of the Qin L and Seal 06 continue to pour in, with journalists, reviewers, and Chinese influencers attesting to the spectacular fuel economy. Barring a few outliers, most have achieved the stunning 80 MPG (2.94 L/100 km) figure, with some claiming that they’ve touched above 90 MPG (2.54 L/100 km). Of course, it’s not clear if those figures would be repeatable outside of China’s very specific driving conditions, but the results still are very impressive for what they are.

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Those real-world results and the Qin L and Seal 06’s reasonable price are getting buyers in the door. Both the Qin L and Seal 06 start at $13,769 (99,800 CNY), which, although a bargain, isn’t as far off when taken into the context of the rest of the Chinese market. A similarly-sized Toyota Levin starts near the middle of the Qin L and Seal 06’s price range, albeit it would be a gas-only model. Regardless, some BYD dealers claim they’re selling 15 to 16 models per day, with no end in sight. The same dealers claim there's at least a 60-day wait for new Qin L models. 

Gallery: 2024 BYD Seal 06 DM-i PHEV

It kind of proves that BYD’s really figured out what the Chinese market wants and how to effectively give it to them. People in China wanted compact sedans with strong economy for a not-so-big price, and the Seal 06 and Qin L seem to be those cars.

That’s not great news for the Western automakers, though. For a very long time, the Nissan Sylphy (Sentra) was one of the top-selling cars in China, and it was popular as a rideshare vehicle because of its low cost and big back seat. But, the Qin L and Seal 06 are just as cheap, offer PHEV new energy credibility (which often comes with cheap or free registration in many Chinese cities), and are just as spacious. Suppose Nissan, General Motors, Toyota, and whoever is competing for buyers in China’s small sedan segment doesn’t want to get completely left behind. In that case, they will need a credible competitor as soon as possible.

If BYD aims to sell 3.6 million cars this year, 20% higher than last year’s numbers, if the Seal 06 and Qin L’s sales continue to move at this pace, it might do so. 

Contact the author: kevin.williams@insideevs.com 

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