World’s biggest electric and hybrid carmaker BYD ruled out UK factory because of Brexit, after new law scraps US debut
China’s BYD, the world’s biggest seller of electric and hybrid cars, reportedly ruled out the UK as the location of its first European car plant because of Brexit.
The Warren Buffett-backed company, which has aggressive worldwide expansion plans, told the Financial Times the UK was not even in the top 10 possible locations for a European plant.
The firm said its shortlist includes Germany, France, Spain, Poland and Hungary.
“As an investor we want a country to be stable. To open a factory . . . is a decision for decades,” said European president Michael Shu.
‘Don’t understand what happened’
“Without Brexit, maybe. But after Brexit, we don’t understand what happened,” Shu said. “The UK doesn’t have a very good solution. Even on the long list we didn’t have the UK.”
BYD, which stands for Build Your Dreams, began in 1995 as a battery manufacturer and has expanded into vehicles and solar panels.
In 2022 it was the world’s biggest seller of battery EVs and plug-in hybrids, with a total of 1.86 million in sales, the vast majority of which were in China.
It was well ahead of Tesla, which sold 1.3 million vehicles overall last year, although for fully electric cars it trails Tesla by about 400,000 units.
But BYD’s battery electric vehicle business is growing rapidly, with sales expanding 184 percent year-on-year in 2022.
The company wants to sell one in 10 battery EVs in Europe in 2030, with targeted sales of 800,000, and wants to have at least one car manufacturing facility in the region.
BYD is likely to announce the location of its first European EV plant this year, with plans to begin producing as early as 2025.
Reuters reported in January that BYD had made extensive preparations for a US launch this year, but delayed the plan indefinitely due to political tensions and the US’ Inflation Reduction Act.
The law prioritises domestic battery production by restricting where raw materials may be sourced.
It also disqualifies EVs produced outside North America for a $7,500 (£6,170) purchase rebate, putting foreign manufacturers such as BYD at an immediate price disadvantage.