BYD calls out the US and Europe for being ‘afraid’ of Chinese EVs

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Is the West afraid of Chinese electric cars? According to BYD CEO Wang Chuanfu, there are many examples of politicians who are worried about low-cost Chinese EVs, hinting at the US and Europe.

BYD says the US, Europe are worried about Chinese EVs

“If you are not strong enough, they will not be afraid of you,” Wang said at an industry event on Friday (via Bloomberg).

He added, “There are many examples of politicians in other countries who are worried about EVs in China.” The comments come as the US and Europe aim to hamper Chinese EV imports with new tariffs.

BYD’s CEO said the tariffs are a testament to the strength of China’s auto industry. Wang’s swipe at the West comes after the US increased tariffs on China-made imports, including EVs, batteries, and critical minerals.

The EU is also expected to introduce new tariffs aimed at Chinese EVs shortly. Europe launched an investigation into China-made EVs as the global markets are “now flooded with cheaper electric cars,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in September.

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BYD store in Thailand (Source: BYD)

China has since threatened to retaliate with a 25% tariff on imports as global trade tensions heat up.

BYD, China-made EVs take on global markets

BYD posted its second-highest sales ever last month after introducing a series of new lower-cost electric (and PHEV) cars.

The new BYD Seagull, its cheapest EV, starts at just $9,700 (69,800 yuan) in China. Even in overseas markets, the “mini Lamborghini” (as former Lamborghini designer Wolfgang Egger led its design) is still one of the cheapest electric options.

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BYD Dolphin Mini (Seagull) launch in Brazil (Source: BYD)

In Brazil, the Seagull EV starts at around $20,000 (99,800 BRL). BYD’s car transport ship, Explorer No 1, landed in Brazil’s Port of Suape earlier this week, unloading 7,000 new energy vehicles (EVs and PHEVs).

The Explorer first docked in Germany in February, carrying 3,000 vehicles, as BYD expands the brand globally.

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BYD Explorer No 1 unloading cars in Brazil (Source: BYD)

According to global data collection firm Dataforce, Chinese EVs, like BYD and MG, accounted for around 9% of EVs sold in Europe last year. However, that number is expected to rise quickly over the next few years.

European lobby group Transport and Environment, Chinese EVs could account for a quarter of EVs sold in Europe this year.

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BYD’s wide-reaching portfolio (Source: BYD)

After topping VW, becoming China’s top-selling automaker last year, BYD looks to take on global markets.

While addressing the audience Friday, Wang said the industry should embrace competition if it wants to manage the transition to EVs.

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BYD Sea Lion 07, the brand’s first “mid-sized urban smart electric SUV” (Source: BYD)

Electrek’s Take

BYD is quickly expanding overseas. It’s already an EV leader in key markets like Thailand, Brazil, Israel, Columbia, and others.

Despite its low price tag, BYD’s Seagull has earned praise from industry leaders. Ford’s CEO Jim Farley called it a “pretty damn good” car, warning rivals of BYD’s superior tech.

Even with tariffs, BYD expects the Seagull EV to launch as one of Europe’s cheapest electric cars at under $21,500 (20,000 euros). BYD is also planning a higher-end $27,000 (25,000 euro) model, according to European managing director Michael Shu.

With two planned plants in the region, BYD expects to overcome any potential impacts of tariffs on China-made EVs.

Although BYD is best known for its affordable EVs, the automaker is expanding into new segments, such as mid-size SUVs, luxury vehicles, and pickup trucks.

BYD launched the Sea Lion 07 last month, which will compete with Tesla’s top-selling Model Y. Starting at 189,800 yuan ($26,250), BYD’s new electric SUV undercuts the Model Y in China, which starts at 249,900 yuan ($34,550).

It also launched its first pickup, the Shark PHEV, in Mexico. The BYD Shark will compete with top-selling trucks like Toyota’s Hilux and the Ford Ranger in the region.

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