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BYD To Dominate Thailand's EV Market Via Dealership

BYD To Dominate Thailand’s EV Market Via Dealership

Other than eclipsing Tesla, BYD is steadily expanding its footprints in Thailand, the nation with the largest automotive market share in Southeast Asia.

Source: Reuters

BYD’s sole Thai distributor will triple its dealerships in Thailand in two years, cementing the Chinese automaker’s dominant position in its top overseas market. BYD overtook Tesla as the world’s top EV maker in Q4 2023, and the expansion in Thailand underscores its global push – especially in markets where its U.S. rival has yet to become a major vendor – as EV sales growth slows in its home market China.

Rever Automotive, the distributor that helped launch BYD in Thailand in late 2022, will add 200 dealerships by end-2025, expand commercial vehicles offerings and enter new passenger car segments, CEO Pratarnwong Phornprapha told Reuters.

“By the end of this year, we’ll have 200. And the next year, we’re planning for another 100. I think around 300 for us is a healthy number,” Pratarnwong said.

Rever currently has some 100 outlets, establishing BYD as the dominant carmaker in the fast-growing Thai EV market with a 40% market share, according to Pratarnwong. BYD sold 3 million passenger vehicles in 2023, with more than 90% of those going into the China market, according to data from the China Passenger Car Association. Overseas sales amounted to around 242,000 units.

Thailand accounted for around 20% of BYD’s international sales in the third quarter, according to research firm Counterpoint, maintaining its spot as the automaker’s largest overseas market, where it is also investing THB 17.9 billion (US$504 million) to build a factory scheduled to open this year.

EV sales in Thailand made up a little over 7% of all passenger vehicle sales in the country in the third quarter of 2023, Counterpoint data also showed, but it is one of the fastest growing EV markets in Southeast Asia, aided by government subsidies and policies.

Late last year, the Thai government approved a scaled down subsidy package for the EV industry, although still offering up to 100,000 baht ($2,764) per vehicle and lower import duties and excise taxes. Overall, Thailand plans to convert about 30% of its annual production of 2.5 million vehicles into EVs by 2030 and attracted more than US$1.44 billion in investments from Chinese auto companies.

Leading EV

BYD has been outperforming other automakers in Southeast Asia’s EV market, bolstered by partnerships with local distributors and affordable models such as the Atto 3 SUV, which was the region’s bestselling electric auto in the third quarter. Recently. BYD unveiled three battery EV models in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, where BYD is also planning to invest US$1.3 billion in an assembly plant.

In Thailand, its efforts to expand product offerings are set to pose a challenge to Japanese rivals, including Toyota Motor Corp, that have long dominated the country’s auto market.

“Roughly, I think we have to get into MPVs, we have to get into bigger size SUVs, and smaller size sedans, bigger size sedans,” Pratarnwong said, referring to multi-purpose and sport utility vehicles and outlining the need to expand BYD’s offerings.

Rever currently offers three BYD EV models in Thailand: the Seal sedan, the Atto 3 SUV and the Dolphin hatchback. Beyond passenger cars, Rever is looking to make inroads into commercial fleets using BYD vehicles and technology, including for taxis, short-haul trucks and vans, and buses.

Thailand had over 81,000 registered taxis as at September 2023, according to government data, and Rever is aiming to capture 40% of the new vehicles entering that market, said Pratarnwong. Rever is also offering the BYD T3 van for limited distance deliveries that picked up during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rever Vice CEO Pratarnporn Phornprapha said. “There’s a lot of short haul deliveries going on,” she said. “It’s a huge chunk which we wanted to focus on.”

Pratarnwong and Pratarnporn are from the Phornprapha family that established the Siam Motors Group (SMG), which helped develop Thailand’s automotive industry. Rever is independent from SMG, Pratarnwong has previously said. 

A Rever subsidiary is also building a bus production facility that will use BYD technology, with the first chassis likely to roll out in the third quarter, Pratarnwong said. “This year will be the year that we properly attack the commercial market,” he said.








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