BYD is coming: Chinese EV maker to expand European operations with new factory

Hungary will be BYD's “centre of European production”

BYD Dolphin - front grille

BYD has confirmed plans to start building cars in Europe, at a new site in Szeged, Hungary. The Chinese battery and EV giant has said for some time that it would consider manufacturing electric cars in Europe to be the next step of its push into the region. BYD already has an existing industrial relationship with the Hungarian government, having made buses in a different part of the country for several years.

In a corporate statement, BYD described the move as “the next stage of its European strategy” and said the facility would be a “manufacturing and production centre”. It did not issue a timeframe for the factory’s opening, although it said it will be “built in phases” and added that it would “utilise its expertise in integrated vertical supply chains to help create a green ‘ecosystem’ locally”.

There’s no word on whether this final statement means that BYD will produce battery cells locally to supply the car factory, although the company does already have a battery-pack assembly facility in Hungary. Local battery supply is considered likely, though, since it would help the brand to keep its cars’ prices competitive within the European Union, which is planning to introduce ‘rules of origin’ regulations that will punish car makers whose batteries are made outside of the region.

BYD also gave no indication of which cars it intends to make in Hungary, although the pace of the brand’s rollout of new vehicles is such that they are unlikely to be existing models anyway. Having introduced the Atto 3, Dolphin and Seal in the UK in 2023, BYD already plans to bring three further vehicles to British customers in 2024; these are expected to include the Seal U - a Nissan Qashqai-sized SUV which could be the brand’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle to reach showrooms here.

The deal will make BYD the fifth major car manufacturer to produce vehicles in Hungary, as it joins Audi, Suzuki, Stellantis and Mercedes-Benz in the country. BYD concluded its statement by describing the country as “the centre of European production operations”.

Check out the latest news and reviews on BYD here...

Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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