BYD targets European fleet sector
The Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer produced its first car in 2003, and 20 years later has become the world’s largest EV maker.
Electric car manufacturer BYD has the fleet sector firmly in its sights as it plans its European expansion.
The company is already market leader in China, the largest EV market on the planet, and next week will sell its 6 millionth electric vehicle.
As impressive as its sales is its growth. BYD is now present in 19 European countries with a range of five electric cars, and will launch a further three next year. The company has already achieved a 7% share of the BEV market in Ireland and a double-digit share of the Swedish EV market, said Michael Shu, managing director of BYD Europe, at the Fleet Europe Days conference in Portugal.
BYD understands the mechanics of the fleet sector
Speaking for the first time at a fleet event, he emphasised that the manufacturer fully understood the profile and expectations of the European market, acknowledging both the importance of company cars in Europe’s sales, as well as the discounts and rebates that corporate customers expect.
“BYD respects the ecosystem of the market, a fleet-driven market,” said Shu. “We’re bringing good product, good technology, and we’re working with partners to provide services, such as leasing companies for finance and dealers for aftermarket care. Our concept is clear – premium product at an accessible price.”
BYD already has a 26-strong corporate sales team in Europe, which will grow as its sales increase. However, the manufacturer’s first priority in Europe is customer satisfaction, before it pursues any volume goals, although a huge deal to supply SIXT with 100,000 cars by 2028 is rapidly increasing BYD’s brand awareness, which is important for its subsequent residual values, said Shu.
“So far, we are still very small in Europe, but we could be 10 times bigger,” said Shu.
With 10,000 R&D engineers working on battery technology and a 300 gigawatt-hour battery factory (bigger than its car assembly plant), BYD is clearly geared for growth.
In its home city of Shenzhen, BYD has electrified the local bus fleet and provided 22,000 electric taxis, some of which have now clocked up 800,000 to 1 million kilometres, said Shu. The programme has given Shenzhen residents confidence in the practicality of driving an electric car, as well as the robust reliability of BYD, he added.
A 'local' OEM
Shu is equally confident about BYD’s prospects in Europe, despite the risk of the European Union introducing protectionist trade measures against Chinese OEMs. He insists that BYD is a ‘local’ brand, sourcing many of its components from European supply chain partners such as Bosch, Orange, Continental and Michelin, and that it has plans to open a car manufacturing plant in Europe in the near future.