Hit legacy where it hurts: BYD undercuts VW Lavida and Toyota Corolla with their new PHEV lineup

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BYD had a sharp start to the New Year of Dragon in China, escalating the price war in the EV segment and cutting the prices of its lineup up to 20%. The company commented on its price reductions with the words “ICEs are panicking,” suggesting the main target are petrol cars from legacy automakers.

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BYD announced the 2024 Qin Plus DM-i Honor Edition this week with a price 20,000 yuan (2,800 USD) compared to the 2023 version. The new Qin Plus starts at 79,800 yuan (11,080 USD).

Qin Plus DM-i now undercuts Volkswagen Lavida, the best-selling Chinese sedan, whose base model starts at 87,900 yuan (12,200 USD). Moreover, Lavida initially launched at 120,900 yuan (16,800 USD) but was forced to introduce radical price cuts as China’s auto price war intensified during the past year.

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Volkswagen Lavida. Credit: DCH

Discounted Qin Plus DM-i Honor Edition is also a threat to Japan’s mid-size sedan mass market flagship – Toyota Corrola. The latest model was launched for an MSRP of 113,800 yuan (15,800 USD), but most dealers effectively sell it for 79,800 yuan now, which is on par with Qin Plus DM-i Honor Edition.

Toyota Corrola. Credit: DCH

The 2024 BYD Qin is a 4-door, 5-seater with dimensions 4765/1837/1495 mm and a wheelbase of 2718 mm. It features 1.5L ICE (81 kW output) and 132 kW or 145 kW electric motor, based on trim level.

BYD also launched an all-electric variant called Qin Plus EV Honor Edition. Like the PHEV model, it comes 20,000 yuan cheaper than the 2023 model and starts at 109,800 yuan (15,300 USD). Here is the list of variants:

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Qin Plus EV Honor Edition

  • 109,800 yuan (15,250 USD)
  • 116,800 yuan (16,210 USD)
  • 119,800 yuan (16,630 USD)
  • 129,800 yuan (18,000 USD)
  • 139,800 yuan (19,360 USD)

The two cheapest variants have a 420 km CLTC range, while the following three have a 510 km CLTC range.

Qin Plus DM-i Honor Edition

  • 79,800 yuan (11,080 USD)
  • 95,800 yuan (13,330 USD)
  • 105,800 yuan (14,700 USD)
  • 115,800 yuan (16,060 USD)
  • 125,800 yuan (17,430 USD)

The two cheapest variants have a 55 km battery-only range, while the following three have a 120 km battery-only range.

Toyota Corolla TNGA 1.5L

  • 79,800 yuan (11,080 USD)
    • 113,800 yuan MSRP at launch
  • 95,800 yuan (13,3020 USD)
    • 127,800 yuan MSRP at launch
  • 105,800 yuan (14,700 USD)
    • 139,800 yuan MSRP at launch
  • 114,800 yuan (15,970 USD)
    • 148,800 yuan MSRP at launch

Volkswagen Lavida 1.5L

  • 87,900 yuan (12,200 USD)
    • 120,900 yuan MSRP at launch
  • 96,900 yuan (13,400 USD)
    • 127,900 yuan MSRP at launch
  • 105,900 yuan (14,700 USD)
    • 138,900 yuan MSRP at launch
  • 118,900 yuan (16,500 USD)
    • 151,900 yuan MSRP at launch

However, the Qin Plus Honor is not the only BYD car that launched its annual update with a haircut. BYD released the 2024 Destroyer 05 Honor Edition with a starting price of 20,000 yuan lower than the previous version.

Destroyer 05 is PHEV, which launched in March 2022 for 119,800 yuan. In April 2023, BYD launched an annual update called Champion Edition for 101,800 yuan. This week, BYD launched the Destroeyer 05 Honor Edition for 79,800 yuan.

2024 BYD Destroyer 05 Honor Edition.

Destroyer 05 Honor Edition dimensions are 4,780mm in length, 1,837 mm in width, and 1,495 mm high, with a wheelbase of 2,718 mm.

Regarding the powertrain, the Honor Edition is equipped with BYD’s DM-i plug-in hybrid system, consisting of a 1.5L engine and a permanent magnet synchronous motor. The combustion engine delivers a maximum power output of 81 kW and a torque of 135 Nm. The electric motor offers two options: 132 kW with a maximum torque of 316 Nm or 145 kW with a maximum torque of 325 Nm. The vehicle has an LFP battery, providing a pure electric range of 55km or 120km based on the model variant.

Editor’s insight

This is a bloodbath. Legacy automakers are already struggling as China’s ICE market share declines, and this is a strike to their A-segment leaders in the important mid-size sedan category: VW Lavida, Toyota Corolla, and even Nissan Sylphy will feel the pressure.

Slashing the prices of the Qin Plus models will also create room for the upcoming Qin L sedan, which will most likely be priced somewhere between Qin Plus and Seal at around 120,000 yuan.

Qin Plus EV moving close to the 100k yuan border will most likely force BYD Seagull (Dolphin Mini) to drop to around 60k yuan starting price.

BYD demonstrated that it is ready to use its deep pockets to gain market share and sacrifice the margins in the next year or two until more EV makers start losing wheels and price competition becomes less fierce. About 100 EV makers are selling cars in China, and the decimation has already begun. We will keep an eye on that.

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