Chinese EV giant BYD to build electric car factory in Hungary | CAR Magazine

Chinese EV giant BYD to build electric car factory in Hungary

Published: 22 December 2023 Updated: 22 December 2023

► BYD confirms plans for Euro factory
► Szeged in Hungary will build EVs
► The first Chinese factory in Europe

The world’s biggest manufacturer of electric cars has confirmed its first European car factory. BYD today revealed plans for a brand-new manufacturing and production centre in Szeged in the south of Hungary.

It’s the first time one of the new wave of Chinese EV manufacturers has made clear its intention to manufacture in the European Union (EU) and reflects how seriously China is challenging the established world order. 

No timeframe has been confirmed yet, but the Szeged plant will likely come on stream in the second half of the decade, just as Build Your Dreams ramps up its volume aspirations in the block.

The facility will join an existing BYD bus factory in Hungary. BYD’s European CEO Michael Shu told the FT earlier in 2023 that it wanted to be Europe’s biggest EV seller by 2030, accounting for one in 10 of the bloc’s electric car market.

BYD Seal: target Tesla Model 3

BYD says it will build the factory in phases. It ‘is expected to create thousands of local jobs, boost the local economy and support local supply chains. BYD will also utilise its expertise in integrated vertical supply chains to help create a green ecosystem locally.’

The company said it chose Hungary because of its position in the heart of Europe and on account of its long history of advanced manufacturing. Other brands based there include Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

Hungary was chosen ahead of possible sites in Germany, France, Spain and Poland. Talks to buy Ford’s Saarlouis factory in Germany fell through.

BYD in Europe: a growing force

Build Your Dreams now has 230 retailers signed up across 19 European countries, selling five models. Three of them are available in the UK – the Atto 3, Seal and Dolphin (below) – while other EU countries can also buy the Han and Tang. 

BYD Dolphin: disrupting EU's EV market already

Three additional new BYD models are planned to arrive in 2024. It is not yet clear which models will be manufactured in the new Szeged facility.

The news means that BYD has beaten its Chinese EV rival brands to establish a foothold in Europe. Nio, Great Wall and others are targeting the region, but none has announced firm plans for manufacturing here yet.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, car news magnet, crafter of words