Big plans in Europe
Chinese car manufacturer BYD continues to dream

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The Chinese car brand BYD – Build Your Dreams – was able to dethrone Tesla at the end of 2023 with over 500,000 electric cars sold. Now it is expanding its portfolio in Europe and is making a big appearance at the Geneva Motor Show. At least six new models are expected to be launched in the next two years.

It has been just 20 years since BYD announced its entry into the auto industry. A little later, in 2008, the Chinese company, originally a battery manufacturer, presented its first model with a plug-in hybrid, the F3DM. Two years later, Mercedes entered into a joint venture with BYD. Together they founded the EV brand Denza.

BYD, short for Build Your Dreams, is considered extremely progressive and successful in China and has a variety of models and various brands under one roof. Technology and design are well received. Incidentally, former Audi man Wolfgang Egger is responsible for the latter.

In 2022, BYD decided to no longer offer models with pure combustion engines, but only those with electric or plug-in hybrid drives (PHEV). The group has now not only moved into the top ten of the largest automobile manufacturers and is number one worldwide when it comes to the production of New Energy Vehicles (NEV), but was also able to sell over half a million electric vehicles in the fourth quarter of last year. Cars also dethrone Tesla.

Confident presentation

The SUV BYD Seal U is about to be launched on the market. The SUV BYD Seal U is about to be launched on the market.

The SUV BYD Seal U is about to be launched on the market.

(Photo: BYD)

The company is correspondingly self-confident when presenting the sixth BYD model for the European market. The Seal U (the U stands for Utility) is a 4.79 meter long mid-range SUV and is scheduled to go on sale in March. A range of up to 500 kilometers is promised. In China, the Seal U is called Song Plus and is the brand's bestseller. Over 40,000 units are delivered to customers every month.

However, the versions with plug-in hybrids are counted here. This is exactly what BYD wants to offer in selected countries in Europe this year. “Especially where the charging infrastructure is still very patchy,” says marketing boss Penny Peng. This primarily refers to some Eastern European countries. The Seal U DM-i is intended to provide an electric range of over 100 kilometers, meaning it can be driven like a purely electric car in most everyday situations.

BYD will show the model at the Geneva Motor Show in early March (February 26th to March 3rd). In addition to the previous European line-up (Han, Tang, Atto 3, Dolphin and Seal), the Chinese also have a model from Denza, the N7, with them. If it appeals to the public, BYD will position Denza as a premium brand in Europe from 2025. The body shape is a crossover model. There is also discussion about possibly bringing the Denza D9, a luxury van, which is very successful in China, to Europe, primarily intended as a shuttle vehicle for hotels and VIP services.

Not even a super off-roader in the style of a Land Rover Defender is excluded. In the Middle Kingdom it goes under the name Yang Wang U8, is based on an ultra-modern platform (e to the power of 4) with four individually controllable electric motors (together around 1,000 hp) and is therefore able to rotate 360 ​​degrees “on the plate”. . BYD also wants to show this show in Geneva.

The first car factory in Europe is being built – in Hungary

Below the compact SUV Atto 3 (length 4.46 meters), BYD is said to be planning to send another SUV to Europe in 2025, the Atto 2. In China, the model (length 4.29 meters) goes by the name Yuan Up and is also based on the modern e-platform 3.0. The options are probably 32 and 45 kWh of battery capacity. The latter would enable a range of almost 400 kilometers.

The Chinese are unlikely to have completed their first car factory in Europe until 2026 at the earliest. It is located in Szeged in Hungary. It is quite possible that the successor models to Dolphin and Seagull will be produced here. The latter is an electric city car that is intended to compete with the low-budget products from Stellantis, Dacia and Volkswagen.

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