Chinese electric cars gain footing in UK as Euros fuel drivers interest in petrol and diesel alternative

A BYD dealership

BYD saw a 69 per cent increase in views due to Euros 2024 partnership

REUTERS
Hemma Visavadia

By Hemma Visavadia


Published: 17/06/2024

- 18:38

UK drivers flagged interest over the BYD Seal

Chinese electric vehicle sales have rapidly increased during the first few weeks of the Euros as drivers decided to make the switch away from petrol and diesel.

During the first few weeks of the Euros 2024, car maker BYD has seen a 69 per cent increase in views from drivers tempted to buy an electric car on the motor platform Auto Trader.


The brand, which is an official partner at the football tournament benefited from more than 10 million views at the opening Germany vs Scotland game last week.

The BYD Seal was the most viewed model over the weekend and the second most viewed new EV model overall with the IONIQ 5 taking the top spot.

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A BYD electric vehicle on display in Farnborough.

Upcoming BYD Seagull could be the cheapest option available to drivers across the UK

Reuters

According to Auto Trader, there have been 3,365 UK sales of BYD models since March when the Chinese manufacturer entered the UK market.

Erin Baker, editorial director of Auto Trader, said: “Our traffic data shows that this tournament is already triggering a step-change in awareness of BYD a little more than a year after they entered the UK market.

“This high-profile media partnership only underlines their ambitions in Europe where they face tough competition from the well-established legacy brands.

“BYD’s sales are growing rapidly, albeit from a low base, and the Euros partnership has the potential to cement them in the public consciousness.”

The Chinese car brand revealed in April that it was mulling over plans to launch the cheapest electric vehicle in the UK market to date.

With a reported starting price of £8,000, as sold in China, the BYD Seagull would make it the cheapest option available to drivers across the UK.

Electric cars on offer in the UK already have been warned of having too high of a price point, the introduction of the BYD Seagull could shake up the industry.

China already has a foothold across Europe as one in four electric vehicles sold in Europe will be made in China by the end of the year.

Last month, Transport Secretary Mark Harper warned that if China tried to undercut competition for electric vehicles in the UK by making prices too low, he would take action.

Last week, the European Commission imposed harsh tariffs on Chinese electric vehicle makers.

The tariffs would see BYD pay an extra 17.4 per cent on imports and come after the European Commission completed its investigation into the impact Chinese EVs would have on the EU car market.

The investigation also examined the likely consequences and impact of measures on importers, users and consumers of EVs in Europe.

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A BYD electric carBYD is one of the most popular Chinese EV brandsGETTY

The Commission stated that the purpose of the duties would be to remove the “substantial unfair” competitive advantage of Chinese electric vehicle producers due to the existence of “unfair subsidy schemes” in China.

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