IIt’s the world’s largest car brand by sales of electric vehicles (EVs), but many people may have a hard time recognizing its name. Now Chinese company BYD (which stands for Build the Dream) is on a mission to get more British consumers into the hands of its “affordable” cars.
The company is one of the latest Chinese companies to enter the UK car market, claiming it is price competitive and has launched three cars since entering the UK last year.
But while the average UK driver might not be able to tell any of the Dolphin models apart from an Atto 3 or a Seal, the company is its home country’s biggest EV maker and is now setting its sights on Europe in a big way.
Greg Fairbotham of Zoom EV, which specializes in EV leasing and car sharing, says increased competition will encourage more people to electrify the roads. “And that should be considered a good thing,” he says.
So what should you know about BYD and how does it compare to its competitors?
What is its track record?
For the past decade, the company has been China’s largest EV manufacturer, producing 3.02 million vehicles in 2023. Late last year, it overtook Tesla to become the world’s largest electric car maker.
It’s rapid growth for the Shenzhen-based company, which started making cell phone batteries in 1995 and later branched out into cars. The company has been backed by US investment billionaire Warren Buffett since 2008. The company’s ambitious goals include plans to sell around 800,000 cars a year in Europe by 2030.
it is, observer It said it sold 1,100 cars in the UK between March last year and the end of December. Here are the figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Trades (SMMT): 248 vehicles were sold here last month. The company says it is currently in stock at 24 dealers across the UK.
Perhaps the biggest advantage is that they manufacture their batteries and many other parts in-house.
Recently, parts shortages have been plaguing other manufacturers across the industry, resulting in longer repair times for consumers.
Steve Fowler, Editor auto express says other automakers don’t have the same level of control.
“The problems we’ve had in recent years with shortages of parts like microchips are not a problem for BYD,” he said.
Is that car okay?
Three models are available in the UK: Dolphin (from £30,195), Atto 3 (from £37,695) and Seal (from £45,695). Reviews are generally positive, but there are some concerns. According to Steve Huntingford, What car? the vehicle is “rather than great”.
“The main reason I buy now is because I want something a little different from the norm,” he says. “But while these cars are impressive enough on their own, in each case there are rival models from name brands that offer better performance and are available for the same or less money.”
The small Dolphin hatchback has been compared to the Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa Electric, while the Ato 3 is similar to SUVs such as the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia Niro EV. Seal, on the other hand, is more like an executive saloon like the Tesla Model 3.
“The Seal – BYD’s best current car, 4 stars What car? Review – Prices start from £45,695. The problem is that he can get a Tesla Model 3, which is actually an even better car in most respects, for £39,990,'' Huntingford says.
However, these prices could potentially fall. autotraders Erin Baker, because the price of the Atto 3 is significantly cheaper in China than in the UK.
“They could get a huge discount from the current price,” she says. “Even if they exported these cars and set up a retail environment to sell them in the UK, they could still make huge profits. They can actively destroy their own cars.”
What about insurance?
These days, electric vehicle drivers are finding it difficult to obtain competitively priced insurance. While drivers across the country typically face increases of more than 50% in their insurance premiums, EV owners often have to deal with even larger increases.
Tesla owners have seen their insurance go up from £1,200 to £5,000 a year. Some companies have seen insurance companies exit the market. Many EVs have expensive features, and the cost of repairing them spills over into insurance premiums.
Zoom EV says Because electric vehicles are relatively new, there isn’t enough data for companies to assess the risks, driving the estimates higher.
Mr Fowler tested how much it would cost to insure a BYD seal on a 55-year-old man in Buckinghamshire who was looking for comprehensive insurance. He was offered his £1,541 as the cheapest option. He says insuring his Skoda and his Yeti in the same conditions would cost around £300.
please be careful of others
BYD is not the first major Chinese car manufacturer to enter the UK market, nor will it be the last. In his first three months of last year, the MG4 was his second best-selling EV after the Tesla Model Y. However, MG is one of the most famous brands in the UK, but since 2007 it has been owned by China’s SAIC.
On the other hand, another Chinese brand is Omoda will be available in the UK in March gasoline cars and electric cars. “This year he has four or five Chinese brands coming to the UK,” Baker says.
The expected boost is so big that analysts at bank UBS believe that by 2030, one in three EVs will be made in China.