BYD Australia opened orders for its electric Seal mid-sized sedan just two weeks ago, and already its order tally has cracked four digits.

“We have secured well over 1000 orders for Seal in record-breaking time and we hope to deliver at least half of those before end of [2023],” said Mark Harland, chief operating officer of BYD’s local distributor EVDirect, to CarExpert.

“[We’re] working to increase supply before end of year, but can’t promise.”

While that’s not yet Tesla Model 3 territory – its fellow Chinese-built rival has logged 14,540 sales to the end of September – it’s enough to worry almost everything else this size, electric or not.

Hyundai has delivered 417 examples of its recently launched Ioniq 6 electric sedan to the end of September, while 1789 examples of the Polestar 2 have been delivered, but it’s been on sale locally since 2022.

Looking at combustion-powered mid-sizers, Mazda has delivered 1191 examples of its 6 sedan and wagon this year, while Skoda has delivered 1107 Octavias.

Shortly after announcing pricing on October 17, BYD cut the price tag of its top-spec Seal Performance by $50 to $68,748 before on-road costs, to allow it to qualify for electric vehicle (EV) incentives in New South Wales and South Australia.

Pricing of the Dynamic and Premium was unchanged, at $49,888 and $58,798 before on-roads, respectively.

That means the Seal’s base price is around $12,000 less than the most affordable Model 3.

To the end of September, BYD has sold 8706 vehicles in Australia – and that’s just of one model, the Atto 3. That makes it Australia’s second best-selling EV brand, behind only Tesla.

BYD’s rise in Australia is set to continue with no supply issues and sharp pricing. The brand’s introduction of a BYD ute and a larger SUV next year will form part of its plan to introduce two new models annually for the foreseeable future, although a seven-seater SUV is still some time away.

“We are just beginning, three models in 18 months, five models in just under two and half years and then more and more after that,” said EVDirect managing director Luke Todd earlier this month.

According to Mr Todd, BYD can re-engineer, re-tool its production line and convert one of its vehicles from left to right-hand drive in just 12 months.

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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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