Yokohama, Bolong.id – The Chinese electric car manufacturer BYD Auto has exported its products to various countries including Japan. An importer from Yokohama, Japan, Osamu Furukawa said he likes BYD.
Osamu Furukawa has driven many Japanese cars. But his favorite car is an import: a battery-powered SUV from BYD Auto.
Reported from apnews.com (02/05/2023) BYD Auto products compete with Western and Japanese brands in the Japanese market.
Furukawa said he ordered the ATTO 3 when it went on sale on January 31, 2023, due to its user-friendly features and attractive price of 4.4 million yen ($33,000) — or about a quarter cheaper than the Tesla.
“Good,” Furukawa said in his office in Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo.
Other ambitious Chinese EV vendors include NIO, Zeekr and Ora from Geely Group, a unit of SUV maker Great Wall Motors.
Others compete on price. Others emphasize performance and features, putting pressure on premium Western and Japanese brands.
“We are very confident that the ES6 will compete in this premium SUV market,” said NIO founder and CEO William Li in an interview at the Shanghai auto show.
Sales of battery-powered and gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles in China nearly doubled last year to 6.9 million vehicles, or half of the world’s total.
It is backed by multimillion-dollar subsidies from the ruling Communist Party, which wants to establish China as a developer of clean energy and other technologies. That angered US and European leaders who see China as a strategic and industrial competitor.
Chinese brands are “intense competition”, according to David Leah, an analyst at GlobalData.
They have “more competitive battery technology” and can “achieve greater economies of scale,” Leah said in an email.
BYD Auto, owned by battery maker BYD Co., leads Tesla in 2022 total sales with 1.9 million vehicles. Half are gasoline-electric hybrids, while Tesla’s fleet is pure electric.
“We have a lot of respect for car companies in China,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a Jan. 25 conference call with financial analysts. “They work harder and they work smarter.”
Chinese brands are developing EVs to compete without subsidies as Beijing shifts the burden on the industry by requiring them to obtain credit to sell electricity. Prices start at 100,000 yuan ($14,500) for a small SUV with a range of 400 kilometers (250 miles) on a single charge.
“The Chinese are scary,” Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn said on an analyst call.
The Chinese EV brand combines research and design centers in the US and Europe with factories in China.
Geely’s Zeekr plans to launch all-electric sedans and SUVs this year in the Netherlands and Sweden.
The United Nations China-Europe subsidiary is located in Gothenberg, Sweden, next door to Volvo Cars, another Geely brand, while the factory is in China.
“Our ambition is to be a key player in electric mobility in Europe within this decade,” said Zeekr CEO Spiros Fotinos, a Toyota and Lexus veteran.
With “clear international prospects,” he said, “we saw the opportunity and the right time for other markets.”
CEO Carlos Tavares of Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, Peugeot and FIAT, warned in January that Europe needed a strategy to compete on low prices in China. Electric appliances made in Europe cost 40% more than Chinese models, according to Tavares.
“It’s a very bad situation,” Tavares told German magazine Automobilwoche. “But it doesn’t have to be that way.”
BYD Auto’s exports quadrupled last year to 55,916 sedans, SUVs and hatchbacks. Most of them go to India, Thailand, Brazil and other emerging markets.
BYD announced the sale of 1,000 vehicles last year to VEMO Mexico for the largest fleet of EV taxis outside of China.
State-owned BAIC, headquartered in Beijing, said a dealer in Jordan placed an order for 1,000 units of the EU5 sedan in January.
The company said it plans to launch two to three more electric vehicles in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Europe.
What about the US, the biggest and richest market?
Chinese EV brands are worried about the sprawling country demanding huge investment in dealers and charging networks, especially as Washington and Beijing are at loggerheads over security, technology and human rights.
“This is not an easy task,” said NIO’s Li. “Our products and services need to be developed.”
BYD Auto has been in the US market for a decade selling battery-powered shuttle buses assembled at a factory in northeast Los Angeles.
“Still in the process” of deciding whether to sell SUVs and sedans to America, the company said in a written response to questions.
Political tensions “make it more difficult for Chinese companies to launch, EV or otherwise,” in the United States, said Leah.
In Europe, Great Wall Ora sells the 03 model from 140,000 yuan ($20,000). Ora tries to differentiate itself from many new brands by promoting its cars designed for women, body sizes and everyday needs.
“This is the second or third car for the family. It can be used by a wife or daughter to go to work, go out with friends or go shopping,” said Ora’s deputy general manager, Tan Jian.
In Europe, BYD Auto has partnerships with dealer networks in the UK, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands.
The company says it has also delivered cars in Belgium, Denmark and Austria. It has a deal with European leasing company SIXT which BYD says will see sales of up to 100,000 vehicles over the next six years.
In Japan, BYD Auto plans to have 100 showrooms by the end of 2025. The Dolphin hatchback and Seal sedan will enter the Japanese market this year. The company said it had also shipped nearly 34,000 ATTOs to Australia.
Furukawa’s OZ Co. converting Volkswagen Beetles and other classic models by replacing the gasoline engine with a battery and an electric motor. Furukawa said he rides the ATTO 3 every day and has gone as far as Osaka, a distance of 400 kilometers (250 miles).
BYD Auto’s Yokohama showroom, which opened on February 2, is surrounded by dealers of established brands including Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Volkswagen, and Chevrolet.
The married father of one said he looked at the Japanese model but bought the ATTO 3 because of the space and price.
“I like the ride, and it’s easy to drive,” said the buyer, who asked to be identified only by his last name, Ohta. “There are many good qualities.”
Ohta’s father had a “negative reaction” to BYD being from China, which has a history of bad relations with Japan.
But Ohta says his work in the video game industry has taught him to respect Chinese innovation.
“They came out with a great product,” Ohta said. “I respect the nation.”
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