BYD teases PHEV pickup for foreign markets

Chinese automaker is stepping up export ambitions

BYD teases PHEV pickup for foreign markets
BYD has been strengthening its export infrastructure in recent months

Chinese EV giant BYD has teased an upcoming PHEV pickup called the Shark on Chinese social media site Weibo, which looks set to be exported.

Notably, the automaker uncharacteristically posted a promotional image of the truck in English, perhaps suggesting that the pickup is being targeted for export. BYD says it has sold its BEVs and PHEVs in 64 countries and regions globally, as well as investing in developing manufacturing facilities in Thailand, Brazil, Uzbekistan and Hungary.

Chinese OEMs have been strengthening their logistical infrastructure for mass exports in recent months, with many vertically integrating their shipping with the purchases of transport ships — BYD launched its first export ship in January. But establishing distribution networks is proving challenging for automakers.

"Chinese EVs are piling up at European ports because challenger brands are struggling to overcome distribution network challenges as they expand into new markets," says David Kelly, chief corporate officer at Irish automotive software firm Cubic.  

While the automaker gave few visual details of the pickup, it has previously tested the vehicle on roads in Mexico. BYD did confirm, however, that the Shark will be built on the firm's purpose-built DMO super hybrid off-road platform.

However, while the pickup is the quintessentially American segment, BYD's chances of cracking the US market still appear slim, not least because of the prospect of increases to current 25pc import duties applied to Chinese autos, and lack of incentive availability under the Inflation Reduction Act. As such, BYD has called the prospect of tackling the US "too complicated".

In addition to this, warnings have been sounding about US electric truck demand for some time.  Ford's upcoming e-pickup — which CEO Jim Farley last year called "one of the most thrilling vehicles I have ever seen in my career" — will be delayed until 2026 as the firm focuses on compact SUVs for its EV strategy.

BYD recently announced it had manufactured its seven millionth NEV, which includes PHEVs alongside BEVs. With 3mn of these made during 2023, the firm took less than five months to go from 6mn to 7mn.

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