China's BYD to build $1B EV plant in Turkey, report says

China's BYD to build $1B EV plant in Turkey, report says

Automotive News Europe — 2024-07-07

Automotive Industry

BYD is set to add Turkey to the growing number of countries where it is opening plants including Hungary, Thailand and Brazil.

Turkey will soon unveil an agreement with Chinese electric-car maker BYD for the construction of a $1 bn plant in the west of the country, Turkish officials said.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to announce the deal during a ceremony in Manisa province, where the plant will be built, the officials said, asking not to be named because they are not authorized to speak publicly.

BYD and the Turkish presidency declined to comment.

The new plant may give BYD easier access to the European Union, with which Turkey has a customs union agreement. The EU has increased tariffs on imports of Chinese EVs, hitting BYD with an additional 17.4% charge on top of the existing 10% rate.

There is also a domestic market to serve, with EVs accounting for 7.5% of car sales in 2023 in Turkey, a country with a population of almost 90 m.

Turkey said on 5 July 2024 that it was walking back plans announced almost a month ago to impose an additional 40% tariff on all vehicles from China, citing efforts to encourage investment. That decision followed talks between Erdogan and China’s President Xi Jinping on Thursday, 4 July 2024, during a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Astana, Kazakhstan.

BYD has been on a tear the last several years in China, becoming the nation’s best-selling car brand.

The Shenzhen-based manufacturer has said it will bring its lower-priced EVs to Europe in the coming years, including the Seagull hatchback that executives expect to sell for less than €20,000 ($21,700).

BYD is building its first European passenger car plant in Hungary, which it aims to open before 2026. The automaker opened its first EV plant in Southeast Asia on 4 July 2024, in Thailand. BYD has also taken over a former Ford Motor factory in Brazil and been looking at locations for a plant in Mexico.

BYD's sales jumped to a record 982,747 vehicles in the second quarter, up more than 40% from a year ago.

While BYD’s sales in Europe are low, they are rising fast and the company is mounting a major marketing push in the region, taking Volkswagen’s place as a main sponsor of the European Championship football tournament.

BYD sold 12,944 cars in the EU, EFTA and UK markets in the first five months, up from 2,120 in the same period in 2023, according to Dataforce market researchers.