BYD to Launch EVs in South Korea, Targets Hyundai and Kia

Hyundai and Kia may be in peril due to BYD’s latest overseas expansion plan as the Chinese EV giant intends to launch its electric vehicle in South Korea by the mid of this year.

BYD isn’t slowing down after surpassing Tesla to take the top spot in the world rankings for EV manufacturers in Q4, 2023. A record 1.6 million pure electric vehicles were sold by the Chinese automaker last year, a 73% increase over the 911,000 vehicles sold in 2022.

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Affordable EVs from BYD, such as the Atto 3 crossover, Seal sedan, and Dolphin hatchback, are becoming more and more popular in overseas markets. In January, BYD accounted for 20% of Japan’s EV imports, despite hardly a year of presence in the Japanese market.

Related: BYD and DJI Jointly Launch the World’s First Vehicle-Integrated UAS

In Thailand, Japan, Brazil, Malaysia, and Columbia, BYD is already a market leader. It is also expanding fast in markets including India, Europe, Mexico, Australia, and Indonesia. Its latest target to take on Hyundai and Kia on their home turf is already causing concern for the South Korean automakers.

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Sources familiar with the matter confirmed that BYD is expected to meet with Korea’s Ministry of Environment and the country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy next month as it aims to sell EVs in Korea. According to The Korean Economic Daily, automakers need environmental and safety certifications to sell electric cars in the country, including the vehicle’s range, energy efficiency, and battery safety. The cars then undergo an eligibility review for state subsidies.

Related: BYD Now Exports Cars in its Own Purpose-Built Vessel

In November 2023, South Korea’s KG Mobility Corp revealed a partnership with BYD to build an EV battery plant in the country. BYD already sells commercial EVs like buses and trucks in South Korea, but it now plans to expand into passenger vehicles.

An industry official explained the move could impact domestic automakers like Hyundai and Kia, since “Chinese cars are no longer regarded as low-end models.”  The official said, adding that “They are affordable and at the same time good cars, with improved tech and designs.” According to the report, Hyundai Motor’s outside advisory committee said:

“Chinese automobiles are crossing the Great Wall of China and entering the global market like a tsunami. Hyundai and other global automakers are losing their market.” 

BYD will initially launch the Atto 3, Seal and Dolphin in South Korea to take on the EVs offered by Kia and Hyundai there. In addition, BYD’s future EV plans revealed several new exciting EVs launching in key segments within a few months. These models including the Sea Lion, Yuan Up, Seal U, and Song L after being introduced in China will begin reaching global markets, further solidifying BYD’s presence internationally.

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