BYD Atto 3 will be the linchpin of the brand’s European expansion
Chinese manufacturer believes it can double its sales in 2023 as it enters the European market
Fast-growing Chinese vehicle manufacturer BYD enjoyed record success last year as its sales totalled 1.8 million – a 155% improvement on 2021’s figures.
Yet despite its relatively limited sales volume – having operated solely in east Asian markets for most of 2022 – BYD established itself a leading role in electrification, selling 911,140 battery-electric cars.
That left the emergent brand 402,711 EVs short of Tesla, which dominated the global electric car market with 1,313,851 sales in 2022. That was a record year for the American manufacturer, despite a slowdown in the final quarter.
Should BYD find a footing in the European market – having entered Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden late last year – it could position itself as a credible sales threat to the likes of Tesla. A UK launch is also scheduled for later this year.
Remarkably, BYD sold a greater volume of plug-in hybrids than battery-electric cars, delivering 946,239 in total.
BYD’s home market of China is one of the largest for plug-in hybrids globally and the technology continues to gather momentum in the region – unlike in Europe, where PHEV sales are dwindling.
Such is the popularity of plug-in hybrids in China that BYD ended production of pure-petrol and pure-diesel models in March 2022. It sold only 5049 non-plug-in cars during 2022 – 0.27% of its total volume.
The brand has no plans to launch pure-combustion or hybrid models in Europe, instead opting to sell the electric Atto 3 crossover, Han saloon (pictured above) and Tang SUV in the market.
The aforementioned European venture, as well as the launch of the new Yangwang luxury marque – with the U8 SUV and U9 supercar priced at more than £122,000 – position BYD well for another bumper year in 2023.
The firm aims to sell more than four million cars this year, to surpass the likes of Hyundai. That is certainly a lofty target – especially as a new, unknown quantity in foreign markets – but one for which progress will be helped by the relaxation of China’s ‘zero Covid’ policy and of the semiconductor shortage, boosting production capacity.