BYD Seagull could come to UK in brand's affordable EV push

BYD’s UK bosses are keen for the company to offer the low-cost BYD Seagull electric car to British buyers.

No decision has yet been taken however on if and when the 3.8-metre-long Seagull would launch in the UK, but if it does it would likely be the cheapest electric car on sale in the UK.

In China, it is priced from the equivalent of £8000, a price at which BYD is understood to make the car profitably and still offer a range close to 200 miles.

BYD’s UK marketing boss Mark Blundell said he was “keen to have it” when asked about the potential UK launch of the Seagull and said there was a clear space below the BYD Dolphin hatchback in the range for it. It is sold as the Dolphin Mini in some markets.

Blundell said it was BYD’s strategy to “make electric cars accessible to all” and keen pricing was part of that. “EVs shouldn’t just be for well-off people…[we need to] have affordable EVs in the range, and need accessible EVs, not just £50, 60, 70,000 ones”.

Blundell was speaking at an event to mark the one-year anniversary of BYD’s launch in the UK. The firm has not set any targets for UK sales or growth but the firm, which sold more electric cars than any other car maker globally last year, including Tesla, is well backed, well funded and ambitious – and growth akin to that achieved by MG in the UK is conceivable over the next few years.

In the medium term, Blundell said he’d like to see BYD “established as a credible brand, with an established infrastructure and dealer network and to be part of the landscape” in the UK. “We need coverage in key markets and robust aftersales.”

The firm plans to go from 21 to 60 dealers in the UK by the summer, giving good geographic coverage across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Blundell was the first staff member in the UK on BYD’s car side – it has been selling buses in the UK for 10 years now, too – but the firm has around 40 employees now and will be adding 100 or so more in the next few months.

BYD operates a wholesale retail model and keeps a good stock of cars to be able to get them to buyers quickly; Blundell quoted a typical two-week lead time to get cars to buyers after orders.

Part of its ability to keep costs so low is by producing so many parts in-house and owning so much of the logistics and supply chain; one example given by Blundell is that the firm has recently commissioned its own cargo ship that holds 7000 cars.

“We control what we can control,” he said. “We’re switched onto supply chain and logistics and ‘build our own’“ when it comes to components.

That policy will also extend to the firm’s new car European factory in Hungary that will be on stream next year, although Blundell said it was not yet decided which models would be built there.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top