BYD blames Brexit as it rules out UK for first electric car plant.

BYD is targeting a network of 100 UK car dealerships. Subscribe to Electric Vehicle News Bitesize Podcast for FREE to hear more!

Chinese electric car brand BYD has announced plans to launch a retail network of 100 dealerships in the UK by the end of 2025.

It has been previously reported on the brand’s franchise deals with Pendragon, Arnold Clark, Lookers and LSH Auto, but discussions with its UK and Ireland county manager Bono Ge revealed more about its ambitious growth plans.

At this week’s launch of its first electric car, the Atto 3 SUV, Ge insisted that agency model retail was not on the agenda.

“We are not going to have direct sales, we want to have partnerships with dealers who are the specialists,” Ge said.

“We have already appointed Pendragon, Lookers, Arnold Clark and LSH Auto and those showrooms open next week in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Milton Keynes. We will have dealerships in London and Belfast in quarter two.”

Ge further explained that BYD’s plan is to build a UK retail network with 25-30 showrooms by the end of this year and 90-100 showrooms by the end of 2025.

He wouldn’t judge by sales figures or model launch schedules, but said BYD had 19 models in China, including vans, and would pick the right ones for Europe.

The next car should be launched by the end of the year, he added.

BYD also announced plans to boost early sales of the Atto 3 by offering introductory offers to potential customers.

The first 500 customers of the Electric Vehicle brand will receive a Shell Recharge card offering free public fuel for the first 1,000 miles.

Gartner Insight, released today, predicts that by 2026, more than 50 percent of electric vehicles sold globally will be Chinese brands.

BYD is the latest in a string of Chinese brands to enter the UK market.

Great Wall Motors’ Ora Electric Vehicle brand has opened dealerships with the likes of Wessex Garages, Peter Vardy, Lookers and Chorley Group, and is accelerating the launch of its Funky Cat hatchback.

It is also one of several brands aiming to expand its retail network, as many high-profile British car brands – including Stellantis, Ford and Nissan – are looking to sharply reduce brick-and-mortar retail operations in search of improved profitability.

China’s largest car exporter, Chery, recently announced plans to enter the UK market with its Omoda 5 crossover in 2024, and has promised several other models to follow.

Chinese automakers aim to increase sales in Europe.

Genesis Motor Europe is currently in talks with potential retail partners, with an initial aim to enter the UK market through online sales and own-operated stores.

Speaking about the new growth plan, which will be mirrored in the German market, Genesis Motor Europe managing director Lawrence Hamilton, said: “We’re ready to press the big red button and launch into phase two in Europe.”

Hamilton acknowledged that, despite standing alone as it launched in the UK, the brand knew that “we knew it would be very difficult for Genesis to stand alone.”

He added: “You can have the nicest cars, the best cars but if you don’t have people around you that can build a relationship with customers that doesn’t count for much.

“By expanding with specialist partners, we can take our award-winning cars to even more customers.”

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BYD is targeting a network of 100 UK car dealerships.
Subscribe to Electric Vehicle News Bitesize Podcast for FREE to hear more!