Chinese automaker BYD is targeting VW and Hyundai in Europe
BYD executives described the brand’s positioning as “attainable premium.” The all-wheel drive, 380 kW 7-seater Tang costs the equivalent of 64,000 euros in Norway; a 240 kW BMW iX fully electric SUV starts in Norway at the equivalent of 86,500 euros.
The Atto 3, which is expected to become BYD’s bestseller in Europe, is on a new platform (E-Platform 3.0) that features a standard heat pump and electric powertrain, the motor, inverter, power electronics and on-board charger integrated. The price of the Chinese version of the Atto 3, called Yuan Plus, starts at the equivalent of 22,500 euros before subsidies.
Yang said BYD’s benchmarks in Europe are mainstream brands like Volkswagen and Hyundai/Kia, both of which launched new EV models with special architecture in the past year.
He said that BYD’s main selling point could be its battery technology. The company, which was founded in 1995 as a battery manufacturer and only turned to producing cars in 2003, is the third largest manufacturer of EV batteries after CATL and LG.
BYD had a turnover of 31.4 billion euros in 2021; it is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and has a market value of around 120 billion euros, the third highest after Tesla and Toyota. Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett is a major investor with an estimated $8 billion stake.
In Europe, BYD will also compete with a wave of Chinese entrants, many of whom are EV-only. These include SAIC’s MG, Nio, Aiways, XPeng, Hongqi and Great Wall. Analyst Matthias Schmidt said this month that Chinese brands could find an opening in mainstream segments based on what he called “disappointing” premium EV sales in Norway, which has the highest all-electric penetration of any market in Europe and is often seen as a testbed for EV brands.