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

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

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BEIJING — Chinese electric car and battery giant BYD is planning to open its first fully invested passenger car factory outside China in Thailand.

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

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The news comes as BYD is expanding rapidly to other countries. Specifically, the company plans to enter the passenger car market in Japan — home of auto giant Toyota — by selling three electric car models to local customers next year.

BYD said it announced its official entry into Thailand’s passenger car market in early August.

The company said the new factory is set to start operations in 2024, manufacturing cars for the local market and for export to countries such as Southeast Asia.

The cars will also be exported to Europe, the WHA said.

When the factory opens, the annual production capacity will be around 150,000 vehicles, the two companies said. The WHA noted that by 2030, electric vehicles are expected to account for 30% of Thailand’s total car production, or 700,000 such cars a year.

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Over the past year, BYD has made several announcements regarding the sale of electric passenger cars in countries such as Brazil, Australia, Singapore and Norway. Some mark the brand’s entry into those markets, though it’s unclear whether BYD is selling a meaningful number of cars there yet.

BYD’s rapid growth

Over the years, much of BYD’s business, particularly overseas, has been focused on commercial vehicles such as buses.

But over the years the company has rapidly become an electric vehicle giant in China, the world’s largest auto market.

BYD said it sold more than 487,000 purely battery-powered passenger cars for the first eight months of the year — more than three times the number sold during the same period last year.

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