Warren Buffett-backed Chinese EV maker BYD plans to challenge Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz in luxury car market
- Founder and CEO Wang Chuanfu said the Shenzhen-based carmaker will roll out a Yangwang-branded SUV priced above US$140,000 in the first quarter
- The billionaire did not specify the car’s features, but sources say it aims to challenge Land Rover’s Discovery and Mercedes-Benz’s G-class models
“BYD will build the 1 million yuan-level vehicles under the luxury brand with disruptive technologies and innovative products,” Wang said, according to a company statement. “We will bring our car users an unprecedented experience.”
The Chinese billionaire did not elaborate on the car’s driving range or smart features, but industry sources with knowledge of BYD’s development process said it would be an off-road SUV to challenge the likes of Land Rover’s Discovery and Mercedes-Benz’s G-class models.
In Mandarin, Yangwang literally means looking up at the skies.
“Luxury vehicles attract eyeballs and reflect a carmaker’s design and manufacturing strength,” said Gao Shen, an independent analyst in Shanghai. “BYD’s plan to build luxury cars shows its confidence in becoming a global EV leader in terms of technology.”
On October 29, BYD reported that its earnings for July to September jumped 350 per cent to 5.72 billion yuan from a year earlier.
The Atto 3, which is known as Yuan Plus in China, is the first vehicle BYD has designed and made for the global market. BYD said it has delivered 143,188 cars around the world since the model hit the market in February.
Founded by Wang in 1995 as a battery producer, BYD has been making vehicles since 2003.
The company’s blade lithium iron phosphate battery packs have been well received by Chinese drivers and car assemblers. The battery cells are arranged in a manner that increases energy density while enhancing resistance to overheating. The blade batteries have also been supplied to Tesla’s factory in Berlin.