BYD, the Chinese electric vehicle giant, said on Friday it would build an assembly plant in Hungary, its first battery-powered car production facility in Europe and the latest sign of the company's ambitious plans to expand further. beyond Asia.
BYD is already the world's largest manufacturer of electric vehicles, most of them sold in China, and has begun to open dealerships in Europe as it aims to expand sales worldwide. Last year, it sold 1.86 million battery-powered cars, including plug-in hybrids, which have both an electric motor and a gasoline engine. That surpassed Tesla, which sold 1.3 million electric cars in 2022.
The new production facility will be in Szeged, southern Hungary, BYD said in a statement. The plant will create “thousands of local jobs” and promote “technological exchanges and innovations between China and Hungary.” But there were no details on the size of the plant, how much money BYD would spend or when construction would begin.
“This is the first step toward serious competitive entry,” said Bernstein analysts led by Daniel Roeska. They estimated that the plant would take two to three years to build and produce around 200,000 cars a year, and that local car manufacturing would reduce logistics and tariff costs. “Most importantly, it also incorporates local governments (and local advocates).”
American and European automakers, which have been rapidly spending billions to retool their plants to make more electric vehicles, are well aware of the threat posed by BYD, Nio and other Chinese auto companies. China is the world's largest car market and domestic companies have taken advantage of government support. make big investments in technology.
To demonstrate its growing strength, seven Chinese brands were exhibited at the fair in September Munich motor show, where BYD unveiled a sleek new sedan and sport utility vehicle to applause.
European legislators An investigation recently began over whether Chinese automakers have received government subsidies, a step that could lead to the imposition of tariffs by the European Union. “Europe is open to competition, not a race to the bottom,” said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission. “We must defend ourselves against unfair practices.”
European automakers are responding to the challenge. Volkswagen has invested a lot in China, where he was once a sales leader. And VW was informed by the German newspaper. Handelsblatt be in preliminary talks with Renault about building a low-cost electric vehicle.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban visited Shenzhen, BYD's headquarters, in October. According to the Shenzhen government website, visited BYD headquarters and said: “Hungary welcomes Chinese-funded companies and is very willing to cooperate with you.” For years, Orban has looked to countries like Russia and China for economic investment.
But another big Chinese project in Hungary, a $7.8 billion plant by CATL, the world's largest maker of electric car batteries, hasn't always gone well. Concerns about pollution, draining water supply and influx of Chinese and foreign workers. led to angry public hearings.
claire fu, Melissa Eddy and Keith Bradsher contributed reports.
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