BYD Makes First Foray Into Japan Passenger Car Market With Three EV Models

China-headquartered BYD, the world’s largest maker of electric vehicles, held a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday to unveil plans to enter Japan’s passenger vehicle market with three models: Atto 3, Dolphin, and Seal.

China’s auto sales top the global auto market, and the announcement underscores how the country is deepening its international reach in the industry, particularly with EVs.

Atto 3 is slated to become the first BYD passenger vehicle sold in Japan starting in 2023. Dolphin and Seal are expected to launch in mid- and second half of 2023, BYD said in a press release.

BYD is 7.7% owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway,

BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu in an online speech noted the company’s success in manufacturing EV components ranging from batteries to chips.

“As one of the first enterprises to develop electric vehicles in the world, BYD has accumulated 27 years of expertise and experience in the field of new energy vehicles, and has mastered the advanced technologies spanning batteries, electric motors, electronic control systems and automotive-grade chips,” Wang said in a press release on Thursday.

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BYD, whose rivals notably include Tesla, said earlier this month total sales of new energy vehicles more than tripled in June to 134,036 from 41,036 a year earlier, underscoring the popularity of EVs in China, the world’s largest auto market.

The company’s sales in the first six months of the year soared by 315% year-on-year to 641,350 EVs, shaking off industry disruption from Covid-related lockdowns in Shanghai. BYD’s sales in June also topped May’s 114,943.

BYD’s HK-traded shares have gained 27% in the past year, giving it a market value worth more than GM and Ford combined. Wang has an estimated fortune worth $25.5 billion on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List today.

BYD’s overall business is more diversified than its rivals – it also makes handset components and photovoltaics. Among its customers are Dell, Apple, Xiaomi and Huawei.

BYD ranked No. 579 on the Forbes Global 2000 ranking of the world’s top publicly traded companies earlier this year.

BYD started serving Japanese customers with rechargeable batteries in 1999, before later providing innovative new energy storage products, solar energy products, pure electric buses, pure electric forklifts, and other goods, the company said.

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