BYD’s strategy to take over Europe [Feature]

(Credit: BYD)

BYD and other Chinese automakers have studied the European auto market for years. Now, it’s time to put their knowledge to the test and go all-in on the European auto market.

BYD’s strategy to take over Europe was recently revealed in a report by Reuters. The publication also shared details about how other Chinese automakers are entering the European market and their plans to beat top-selling brands like Tesla and Volkswagen in the EU’s local electric vehicle (EVs) market. 

Below are the strategies BYD and Chinese automakers are implementing to deploy their vehicles in Europe.

  1. Understand European car consumers and their needs
  2. Improved marketing to increase brand awareness
  3. Expand dealership networks
  4. Build an extensive after-sales care service network, including improved service-and-repair operations.
  5. Protect resale values

China Cars with Europeans in Mind

BYD and Chinese automakers have learned that adapting and importing cars from China to Europe is not enough. They have studied European car owners to understand the details they look for when purchasing a vehicle. As a result, some Chinese car brands have started designing cars from scratch for European buyers. 

For instance, Chinese automakers have learned that safety ratings are important to European car owners, so they have improved their vehicles with safety as a priority.

“In China, the purchase price is important. But for European consumers, it’s not just price, but total cost of ownership, including maintenance, service, and residual values,” commented Bo Yu, JATO Dynamics’ Greater China Country Manager.

China-based car manufacturers are also strengthening and expanding repair-and-service operations to enhance after-sales care in Europe. Plus, they have started understanding the importance of resale values for European car owners. 

“There are hard rules on issues like safety and that are clear, and then there are soft rules that aren’t written down. The Chinese are very eager to learn the soft rules,” said Ben Townsend, Head of Automotive at Thatcham.

Chinese Automakers’ Biggest Advantage

Electric vehicles have offered brands—both old and new—a chance to grow and expand in the transitioning auto market worldwide. Many automakers have not been phased by the EV market’s slowdown and are charging ahead in electric vehicle development. As such, EVs have become a good entry into the European market for China-based automakers. 

Electric vehicles offer Chinese automakers one significant advantage in the global auto market: affordable prices.

China has also started to promote and grow its new energy vehicle (NEV) market, which includes battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The Chinese government financially supports local car companies through subsidies and its ever-expanding EV supply chain. China is ahead regarding battery-minerals mining, a critical part of the EV supply chain that affects costs. 

The local government’s support has resulted in decreased EV prices, like the BYD Seagull, which is under $10,000 in China. The United States has tried to combat against Chinese EVs’ affordable prices by increasing import tariffs by 100%. Europe is expected to raise import tariffs for Chinese EV imports as well. However, the EU’s import tariffs might not be enough to dissuade consumers from affordable EV prices.

The BYD Seagull, for example, is expected to start below $20,000 in Europe even after EU tariffs. Volkswagen, one of Europe’s top car brands, doesn’t expect to launch an EV below €20,000 ($21,631) until 2027.

Equipped with a Europe-focused affordable EV, Chinese automakers have one more obstacle to tackle: brand awareness. BYD is already working on spreading its brand in Europe by participating in and funding local sporting events, like the Europe 2024 soccer championship. It is also working closely with local dealerships.

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BYD’s strategy to take over Europe [Feature]
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