BYD announces its first European car factory in Hungary

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BYD will build its first passenger car factory in Szeged, Hungary, the company officially announced today on WeChat. The plant will produce new energy vehicles (NEVs) – the Chinese term for all-electric vehicles (BEVs), and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

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BYD said the manufacturing base will be constructed in several phases, creating thousands of jobs. According to people familiar with the matter, the factory will have a six-figure annual output, producing over 100,000 electric vehicles annually. The construction is expected to take two years.

It will be the first European factory built by the Chinese EV brand. For example, even the Polestar’s EVs are produced in China and imported to Europe. Polestar is an EV brand under Volvo, owned by Chinese automotive holding Geely Group.

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Among other Chinese EV brands in Europe are Nio, Xpeng, Great Wall Motors, and MG. All their vehicles sold on the Old Continent are imported. Also, none of them have yet announced a European car factory.

Hungary is becoming a manufacturing hub for Chinese EV makers. Nio already has a small factory near Budapest in Biatorbágy, which produces its Power Swap Stations (PSS). BYD has a bus factory in Komárom, near the border with Slovakia. Moreover, CATL announced in 2022 that it will build a 100 GWh plant in Hungary’s second-largest city, Debrecen, with a 7.6 billion USD investment. Another battery maker, Sunwoda Electronic, announced plans to build a 1.96 billion yuan (275 million USD) plant producing battery packs for electric vehicles in the country.

BYD’s European CEO, Michael Shu, announced earlier this year that BYD aims to have a 10% European EV market share by 2030 and become the region’s largest EV seller.

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BYD announced its EV push into Europe in 2022 at the Paris Motor Show, and since then, it has entered 19 European countries. Hungary joined in October, being the first Eastern European country where BYD started sales of passenger EVs.

In the EU’s largest auto market, Germany, BYD sold 350 electric vehicles in November, with cumulative sales in 2023 (Jan-Nov) being 3858 vehicles.

Hungary is part of the European Union’s border-free Schengen Area, which guarantees free movement of people and goods among the member states.

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