Australia’s nominated importer for Chinese electric vehicle brand BYD, EVdirect.com, now says it wants 20-plus physical retail locations nationally by 2024.
It had planned to sell only online, helped by brand experience centres and a deal with the mycar chain for pickups and servicing, but its big sales aspirations needed a new approach.
To do so it plans to form a joint venture “retail partnership” with public dealership giant Eagers Automotive, with respective ownership of 51 per cent (EVDirect) and 49 per cent (Eagers).
The result is intended to be “a network of multi-format retail and customer experience locations for the BYD EV passenger and commercial range across Australia”, EVDirect.com states.
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The news of Eagers’ involvement emerged last week when the company let its investors in on the plan. But today is the first time we’ve had confirmation from majority stakeholder EVDirect.com.
Not lacking in ambition, EVDirect.com says it has invested tens of millions into BYD’s Chinese production lines to make right-hand drive products for Australia.
The company plans to offer up to eight separate models by the end of 2024 and hopes to be a top five brand, as per previous statements. It’s likely many of these are new-generation models that are yet to be revealed publicly.
BYD expects to commence deliveries of its first EV model (said Atto 3) in the Australian market from July 2022 as covered extensively here.
In addition to the Atto 3, EVDirect has also pledged to sell the BYD EA1 (Dolphin in China) small EV hatch with a target price of $35,000-$40,000 and a focus on rideshare operators. It has previously launched (in small volumes) the T3 van and E6 MPV, though the number sold is unclear.
EVDirect is part of a company called Nexport, part of the TrueGreen Group investment fund. TrueGreen Mobility division received a cash injection from Australia’s St Baker Energy Investment Fund recently, which lists in its portfolio battery developer Novonix and public charge provider Evie, and has invested in Australia’s DC ‘unicorn’ Tritium – which resides on the Nasdaq.
“This is a significant moment for the industry in Australia as we plan to bring a full range of BYD products to the market at prices on par with existing high-quality petrol engine cars,” said EVDirect.com head, Luke Todd.
“I am extremely confident that by partnering with Eagers Automotive as our retailer, we are able to leverage unparalleled expertise, knowledge, and infrastructure to make the transition to electric vehicles easy and affordable for many thousands of Australians”.
Eagers Automotive CEO Keith Thornton added: “We are very excited to be the retail partner for BYD Australia and EVdirect.com as they enter the Australian market.
“BYD has clear ambitions to quickly grow its presence in Australia and increase EV penetration amongst Australian customers. Eagers Automotive is committed to providing innovative retail solutions via our Next100 omnichannel strategy while playing a meaningful part in the transition to a cleaner vehicle future.”
Listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, BYD is the fourth largest automaker in the world by market capitalisation, producing more than 1.5 million vehicles since being founded, with a record 603,783 units sold in 2021.
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