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BYD chose Brazil as its first EV hub outside of Asia


Foreign news on July 4: It is reported that BYD Co. It will invest BRL 3 billion ($624 million) in Brazil to build its first electric vehicle plant outside Asia. The Chinese auto giant is looking to expand its geographic reach as global electric vehicle sales surge.

The all-electric and plug-in hybrid automaker — which competes with Tesla Inc. for the world's largest producer of electric vehicles — plans to build a production base in the northeastern state of Bahia, according to a statement Tuesday. The plant will include hybrid and electric vehicle production, a division focused on electric bus and truck chassis, and a division processing lithium and iron phosphate for the international market. Operations are expected to begin in 2024.

It will be BYD's first plant outside Asia, and the company also plans to invest in Thailand and Vietnam.

The decision comes after the Brazilian government worked to deepen ties between Latin America's largest economy and China and attract top companies to invest in Brazil. Stella Li, BYD's global vice president, said the effort would accelerate investment, especially in sustainable projects, and help boost growth.

"This is a country we trust, this is a government we trust," Lee said in an interview in São Paulo. "I think it is a win-win situation for China and Pakistan to establish a high-level, very friendly relationship," he said. This will have a huge impact. ”

Brazil's leftist president has been pushing Chinese companies to build new factories in Brazil to create jobs and deliver on his promise of prosperity.

The initial annual production capacity of the BYD plant will reach 150,000 units, and it is likely to reach 300,000 units. This will be the second plant in Brazil to specialize in the production of electric and hybrid vehicles. Two years ago, Great Wall Motors agreed to buy a plant of Daimler AG in São Paulo and pledged to invest R$10 billion by 2032.

BYD expects the investment to attract local suppliers specializing in electric and hybrid vehicles. The plant will create more than 5,000 jobs.

"This is going to be an innovation hub," she said, adding that suppliers will be trained. "Because we have the technology, we have the ability to help them."

The Chinese company has been in Brazil since 2015, when it opened an electric bus chassis factory in São Paulo. Later, the company began producing photovoltaic modules in the same region and lithium iron phosphate batteries in Amazonas.

Li said Brazil's market has the potential to grow like China's, with hybrid vehicles gradually giving way to pure electric technology as charging infrastructure improves.

But the technology will have to compete with cars fueled by ethanol from sugar cane, another cleaner solution that dominates Brazil's streets. According to Anfavea, a Brazilian auto industry lobby group, sales of hybrid or electric vehicles in Brazil accounted for only 2.5% of total sales last year. According to Bright Consulting, the technology is expected to account for 7% of light-duty vehicle sales by 2030, well below the estimated global average of 37%.

But unlike the U.S., Brazil is well-positioned in BYD's expansion strategy, she said. BYD avoided the U.S. market because the U.S. government's plans for "Chinese companies" are not clear.

"Brazil wants more Chinese companies to invest here and help the local economy," Li said. "For us, visibility in the future is an important factor."