(Updates with original dealer details, adds photos and TV)
By Kylie Madry
MEXICO CITY, Nov 29 (Reuters) – Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD said on Tuesday it would launch its cars in Mexico next year, with an executive targeting sales of up to 30,000 vehicles by 2024.
Next year, BYD will start selling all-electric versions of its Tang sport utility vehicle (SUV) alongside its Han sedan through eight dealers in Mexico, the company’s country chief Zhou Zou told Reuters ahead of the announcement.
The world’s largest electric vehicle maker by sales hopes to sell 10,000 vehicles in Mexico in 2023 and between 20,000 and 30,000 in 2024, Zou said, adding that the company’s long-term goal is to reach about 10 percent of the share total market. Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway also owns a stake in BYD, having sold some of its Hong Kong-listed shares in recent months.
According to the Mexican Automobile Industry Association, only 4.5 percent of cars sold in the first eight months of this year were hybrids, or about 31,000 of the nearly 693,000 sold in total.
While BYD declined to name the starting prices of its vehicles in Mexico, Zou emphasized the company’s affordability. “We are the brand for everyone,” Zou said.
In September, BYD set pre-sale prices for its Tanga and Han models at 72,000 euros ($72,500) in Europe. Few Mexicans earn more than $10,000 a year, according to the country’s statistics agency.
BYD’s Zou also said the company aims to sell cars through 15 authorized dealers in Mexico by the end of 2023 and reach 30 by 2024.
Representatives of the eight dealers, which include the Liverpool department store chain and more traditional dealers such as Grupo Continental, appeared at an event alongside BYD later on Tuesday.
The company’s announcement comes as Mexico, a major auto manufacturing hub, seeks to make electric vehicles more affordable by cutting sales taxes and import tariffs — moves Zou said marked a positive step.
In recent months, Mexican officials have said the country is on track to meet its goal of converting 50 percent of automobile production to electricity by 2030.
However, a General Motors chief executive said this month that Mexico is more likely to reach just 15 percent by 2030 if it does not change course.
Zou said that as US states like California go all-electric, Mexico – which produces a large amount of cars for its northern neighbors – is likely to follow.
($1 = 0.9654 euros) (Reporting by Kylie Madry; Editing by Sarah Morlan, Uttaresh.V and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)