BYD in the Netherlands: Calm before the storm?

At the moment there are less than 200 cars of the Chinese brand BYD registered in the Netherlands, but in the home country it is now the leader after a stormy growth. What can we expect from ‘Build Your Dreams’ here?

Worldwide successful

You can call it a miracle in itself that BYD is the largest in China with 1,804,624 cars sold. The brand is relatively young and has surpassed the entire established order in a short time. It achieved a growth of 150% in 2022 compared to the previous year. Worldwide it is now the most successful seller of ‘plug cars’. Only Tesla to put up with it when it comes to fully electric models. BYD got stuck at 911,140 EVs, Tesla did 1.31 million.

Competitively priced

A quarter of the EVs sold by BYD were an Atto3, and now it’s getting interesting for us Dutch. This Atto3 has recently also entered the market in our country (for the first test, watch the video here), via the Louwman group, which is responsible for import and retail. The entry-level model has a starting price of € 42,998. A slightly more luxurious version costs 2,000 euros more. All in all, the Atto3 is competitively priced compared to notable competitors such as the VW ID.3 (from € 45,990) and Kia Niro EV (from € 44,795).

BYD and Toyota

We will soon put the Atto3 in the Autovisie double test against the Kia Niro EV, and we will know whether the established order has as much to fear from BYD as the Chinese figures suggest. Toyota has already opted for cooperation instead of competition, because the next generation of EVs from the Japanese manufacturer will use BYD technology.

BYD Atto 3 corner
The compact Atto 3 is the expected bestseller for the Dutch market.

Fast pace

While Tesla has been living on the same limited model range for a while, BYD is expanding rapidly. The Tang (a large SUV) and the Han (an electric business sedan) are already in the wings, but it doesn’t stop there. In China, the Seal recently appeared on the market, which you can see as BYD’s Tesla Model 3 competitor. In the first five months since its market launch in August, the brand has already sold more than 50,000. The Seal will probably come on the market here as the Atto4 in due course.

Perhaps even more interesting are the ‘Dolphin’ and ‘Seagull’, because these compact (and cheap) models serve a market segment that has so far been reserved for the Dacia Spring in Europe. Whether and if so at what price these models will come our way is still shrouded in mystery. On the other end of the spectrum, BYD added the ‘Yangwang’ luxury brand to its lineup last week.

State of the art electrical engineering

The models of this brand are on a new platform with state-of-the-art electrical engineering. The U8 and U9 are a huge SUV and a sports car, both of which have four electric motors for optimal traction and power control. Count on these models (under a different name) also being sold in Europe someday.

BYD battery pack
Here you can clearly see the unique blades of the BYD battery packs.

Technical race

Perhaps BYD’s greatest strength is that the brand is essentially a battery manufacturer, which only started building cars later. As a result, it can achieve good margins despite competitive prices, and it is often at the forefront of the technical race for the best battery cell technology. For example, the Atto3 has the ‘Blade’ cells. They are so large that they do not need to be housed in separate modules, which saves space, weight and money.

Also, these LFP cells are less prone to overheating and have a long lifespan. But how the Atto3 performs with it in terms of (fast) charging and range at low temperatures, we can tell you in Autovisie number 3. Then we will know whether the rapid growth that BYD is currently showing in China will also be inevitable in Europe. With all the consequences for European manufacturers…

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