BYD’s Australian distributor has responded to widespread criticism of its recently-announced servicing and warranty programs, adjusting service pricing but standing firm on its warranty.

    The company has detailed the changes after numerous BYD Atto 3 order holders criticised importer EVDirect for perceived high service pricing and an unusual warranty, which led to 1300 people signing a petition on and many customers cancelling.

    In an email to customers shared on social media, the company has announced two new servicing schemes that apply whether you service your vehicle at either an Eagers Automotive or mycar outlet.

    If you’re an owner that drives less, you can pay fixed prices of $189 for every 12 month/20,000km service up to the five-year, 60,000km service.

    For owners that do roughly 20,000km per year, there’s also revised service pricing, detailed below:

    • 12 months/20,000km: $189
    • 24 months/40,000km: $370
    • 36 months/60,000km: $189
    • 48 months/80,000km: $447
    • 60 months/100,000km: $189
    • 72 months/120,000km: $370
    • 84 months/140,000km: $189
    • 96 months/160,000km: $447

    This works out to an average of $298.75 per service, or $2390 in total over eight years.

    In contrast, the recently-announced service pricing worked out to be an average of $386.57 per service, or $3092 in total over eight years.

    Owners enjoying the lower-mileage servicing option but who start to exceed the kilometre range will need to move onto the standard servicing scheme.

    EVDirect says roughly 77 per cent of the total servicing cost is made up of qualified labour costs, asserting it’s “not an inflated price on spare parts”.

    While EVDirect has adjusted the servicing scheme, it has defended the exclusions and different periods within its warranty.

    “In some cases, some of our customers have made their opinion vocal regarding the exclusions that sit below the 6 or 8-year mark,” the company says in its email to customers.

    “Given the vocality we wish to address and highlight that we intend to go forward with a very clear pathway for our customers and in simple terms we have done away with any fine print and offered total transparency which is something that has not always been the case in the automotive market.”

    It’s offering a $189 credit to customers who ordered before the warranty and service announcement, redeemable as a service certificate.

    The Atto 3 is backed by a six-year, 150,000km warranty, with an eight-year, 160,000km warranty for the battery.

    However, items like the lights, suspension, tyre pressure monitoring and ball joints are backed by a four-year, 100,000km warranty, while other parts like the infotainment, shock absorbers, charging port assembly and USB charge port connectors are covered by a three-year, 60,000km warranty.

    Those exclusions aren’t listed on BYD’s New Zealand site. BYD vehicles there are backed by an eight-year, 150,000km warranty for the electric drive unit, eight-year, 160,000km warranty for the traction battery, and six-year, 150,000km warranty for the rest of the vehicle, though they’re distributed by a different company.

    On the local warranty exclusions, EVDirect says these are “beyond the manufacturer’s control, therefore some form of balance is required between providing the best possible warranty for all customers but also enabling provisions for some parts that may be inadvertently mistreated or overused”.

    The company also explained why it waited until vehicles started arriving in the country to announce servicing and warranty details.

    “To clear up some conjecture on the timing and release of our service details – we have been working diligently and to unprecedented timeframes to ensure we deliver our EVs as close to our estimated delivery time as possible,” the company says, noting it’s worked with its partners – Eagers and mycar – on developing the servicing schedule.

    “We undertook a very comprehensive market research process before releasing our service schedule to compare our data versus other brands,” it says, again arguing some rival brands may hide information in warranty fine print.

    The company has also confirmed it has added features to the Atto 3 since opening orders in February, including satellite navigation and heated seats.

    As one of Australia’s most affordable EVs, the Atto 3’s announcement for Australia led to a significant amount of online chatter for BYD and EVDirect but the backlash from some of the brand’s most enthusiastic early adopters could put a cramp on its ambitious sales goals.

    BYD says it can make 3000 Atto 3s per month for our right-hand drive market. If this comes to fruition, BYD will finish second in the EV sales race here this year, behind only Tesla and ahead of Hyundai and MG.

    The Chinese automaker, which uses EVDirect as its local distributor, will expand its range early next year with a hatchback and a sedan – likely the Dolphin and Seal. Orders are expected to open for these models later this year.

    The Atto 3 competes against the likes of the MG ZS EV, as well as other upcoming entry-level Chinese EVs like the MG 4 and GWM Ora Cat.

    Prices start at $44,990 drive-away depending on your state, with the Extended Range costing $3000 more and bumping range up by 100km to 420km on the WLTP cycle.

    Both variants use BYD’s in-house ‘Blade’ LFP batteries, with base cars packing 50kWh of capacity and extended range models 60kWh.

    The battery powers a 150kW and 310Nm front-wheel drive electric motor, capable of pushing the Atto 3 from zero to 100km/h in a claimed 7.3 seconds.

    There’s a 400V charging architecture, with maximum AC charging capacity of 7kW and DC charging at up to 80kW. V2L (vehicle-to-load) technology is standard.

    Globally, BYD is seen as one of the most likely long-term competitors to Tesla among the so-called ‘non-legacy’ brands, and is even set to supply its in-house batteries to the Elon Musk-run EV superstar.

    MORE: Everything BYD Atto 3

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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