Chinese electric vehicle giant BYD plans to build a passenger car factory in Thailand

Chinese electric car company BYD has been rapidly expanding overseas, including announcing in recent months plans to enter Thailand and Japan’s passenger car markets. Pictured is a test drive of BYD’s electric Atto 3 SUV in Yokohama, Japan, in August 2022.

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BEIJING – China’s electric car and battery giant BYD is planning to open its first fully invested passenger car factory outside of China – in Thailand.

BYD signed a contract on Thursday to buy land and build a new energy passenger car factory in an industrial park run by the local giant WHA Group, according to a press release. The companies did not disclose the amount of the investment. New energy includes pure battery and hybrid energy.

The news comes as BYD is rapidly expanding into other countries. Notably, the company has plans Enter the passenger car market in Japan – home of the auto giant Toyota – by selling three models of electric cars to local customers next year.

BYD said in early August they officially entered the Thai passenger car market.

The company says the new factory will start operations in 2024, producing cars for the local market and exporting to countries like Southeast Asia.

These cars will also be exported to Europe, WHA said.

When the plant comes online, annual production capacity will reach about 150,000 vehicles, both companies said. The WHA notes that by 2030, electric vehicles are expected to account for 30% of Thailand’s total car production – 700,000 such vehicles per year.

Over the last year or so, BYD has made several announcements about selling electric passenger cars to countries such as Brazil, Australia, Singapore and Norway. Some mark the brand’s entry into those markets, though it’s unclear if BYD will sell a meaningful number of vehicles there.

The rapid growth of BYD

For many years, much of BYD’s business, especially overseas, was focused on commercial vehicles such as buses.

But in the last few years, the company has quickly become a giant in electric vehicles in China, the world’s largest auto market.

BYD says it sold more than 487,000 battery-powered passenger cars in the first eight months of the year – more than triple the number sold in the same period last year.

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

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