Just weeks after reports stating Ford was considering selling its German manufacturing facility to BYD, the Chinese automaker appears more keen on erecting its own EV facility in Europe, according to an executive at the company. Here’s the latest.
BYD Auto is the automotive subsidiary of BYD Company that develops and produces passenger cars, buses, and trucks in China, in addition to rechargeable batteries and energy storage solutions we are seeing implemented more and more in the US.
In the summer of 2022, BYD shared plans to begin selling its EVs outside of China by entering the Japanese market. Ten days later, the company promised EV deliveries in Germany and Sweden before the end of 2022.
BYD EVs will be on sale in countries above, in addition to Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, and Belgium. To support its growing sales footprint overseas, BYD shared its intentions for at least one, if not two, manufacturing facilities in Europe.
These new facilities will also soon support EVs going to the UK, as BYD announced sales in yet another territory. In late January, we reported that Ford was looking to sell its existing production facility in Saarlouis, Germany and had been in talks with BYD as a potential suitor looking for brick and mortar in Europe.
Following recent comments from an executive at BYD however, talks with Ford appear to have fizzled out, leaving the Chinese automaker to mull building its own plant(s) in Europe.
BYD says Ford plant out, but no target country in Europe yet
In a recent interview, BYD executive vice president Stella Li said the automaker is more likely to explore the construction of its own EV plant in Europe rather than acquire Ford’s facility.
We are not focusing on certain companies’ facilities. We are doing feasibility studies to see our plans for the future. Like if we set up our facility in that region, what is the best solution out there?
The best solution appears unclear at this time, as the company states that it has “no target countries to build facilities yet.” What does seem clear, however, is that Ford’s plant is off the table and BYD will seek land in Europe elsewhere.
Ford should be alright, though. According to the original report from the Wall Street Journal, the American automaker was courting 15 potential suitors for the plant Germany. BYD on the other hand, is already erecting a new facility in Thailand to support consumers in Australia, Japan, and Singapore.
The expected facilities in Europe should also help shorten supply chains and support its pending sales and dealer networks along with service centers. We’ve seen fellow Chinese Ev automaker XPeng Motors implement a similar entry strategy in Europe, ensuring it has the brand recognition and physical footprint to support dealers and customer service needs before officially beginning sales.
What still remains unclear is whether BYD plans to enter the US market after Europe, Ford’s home turf. BYD’s potential competitors in Europe are scrambling to cut costs and move production to North America in order for their EVs to once again qualify for federal tax credits under revised terms in the Inflation Reduction Act – a piece of legislature Li says is not “helping the US to be competitive in the EV race or helping US consumers enjoy the best, the most innovative technology.”
Instead, the BYD executive believes China and Europe will lead the global pack when it comes to EV adoption. Time will tell as BYD opens up its order books in Europe, but it will certainly need some manufacturing overseas to support that venture, whether it’s a Ford plant or its own.