BYD Ramps Up EV Price War In China With Cheaper Models

Manufacturers in China continue to respond to waning consumer demand for electric vehicles (EVs), amid ongoing economic and geopolitical issues.

Reuters reported that Chinese electric vehicle giant BYD on Wednesday has unveiled lower-priced new versions of its Han saloon car and Tang SUV, in a move that deepens the protracted price war in the world’s largest car market.

The price war in China has been ongoing since last year, and has already seen Tesla last month cut prices in certain key markets (including China), and warn that its sales growth would be weaker this year than in 2023.

The Denza N7 electric vehicle. Image credit: BYD

EV prices

Last November sales and financial data compiled by HSBC revealed that carmakers in Western countries have gone from long waiting lists during the Covid-19 pandemic, to offering discounts to stimulate demand over the course of this year.

The HSBC data showed that carmakers were having to offer discounts on electric vehicles for the first time amidst a sharp slowdown in sales growth.

In the UK two-thirds of new EVs were sold at a discount or with heavily discounted interest rates for financing, according to figures from AutoTrader, which said EVs in the country are on average 33 percent more expensive than fossil-fuel models.

Meanwhile in the US discounts on EVs have tripled in the past 12 months, HSBC found.

BYD models

Reuters said that its calculations in China showed that the newly launched BYD Han saloon, available as plug-in hybrids and pure EVs, and the Tang hybrid SUV, will have a starting price that is 10.35 to 14.3 percent lower than previous versions.

This comes after Reuters noted that BYD last week had introduced a new version of its Dolphin hatchback and newer plug-in hybrid saloon Qin Plus DM-i, both of which also had lower starting prices.

Reuters said that the new pricing indicates that BYD is giving bigger discounts on most of these models than last year.

The Chinese EV giant also lowered the starting price for the Qin Plus EV and hybrid by 15 and 20 percent, respectively, versus price cuts of 8 and 11 percent respectively for the two models in 2023, Reuters calculations showed.

The starting price for the Tang hybrid was unchanged last year from 2022, when BYD launched the Champion Edition of that model, but the new version of Tang hybrid this year is 14 percent cheaper.

Reuters reported that China’s new energy vehicle sales fell 38.8 percent in January versus the previous month, the first such drop since August 2023, as demand faltered despite a renewed discounting push led by Tesla.

It comes after it was reported this week that tech giant Apple was ending over a decade of research and development and billions of dollars spent, by closing down its Project Titan EV push.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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