Sunday, June 23, 2024

Chinese EV maker BYD chooses Mexico for launch of first pickup truck

Chinese electric vehicle giant BYD has revealed that its new pickup truck will make its global debut in Mexico next week.

The launch of its first-ever pickup truck model — the BYD Shark — will take place on May 14, reported the newspaper El Economista.

A automated care production line inside a factory
Chinese manufacturer BYD was the world’s top electric vehicle manufacturer as of the end of 2023. Pictured: a BYD plant in Hungary. (BYD)

“The BYD Shark will make its debut in Mexico on May 14, ushering in the global era of new energy pickup trucks,” the company said Tuesday on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging website.

The Shark is based on BYD’s own DMO (dual-mode off-road) platform. The new vehicle is a mid-to-large-size model, slightly larger than the Toyota Hilux, a light pickup that Toyota sells globally, although not in the United States.

The expectation is that the Shark model will be aimed primarily at overseas markets and not China’s domestic market, where pickup trucks are subject to more restrictions than passenger car models, according to the website CnEVPost.

In February, BYD announced it would build a factory in Mexico this year. Six states are currently bidding to host the plant, according to El Economista. The western state of Jalisco is said to be among the favorites.

BYD Americas CEO Stella Li said the Mexico plant would build 150,000 vehicles per year for the Mexican market.

BYD is the first carmaker from China to announce its plans to build a plant in Mexico. Though Mexico is an increasingly attractive nearshoring destination for electric vehicle production, plans by Chinese firms to nearshore in Mexico have been complicated by recent pressure from the United States.

Two months after BYD announced its plans to build a factory in Mexico, the Mexican federal government revealed it would not be offering incentives such as tax cuts for Chinese EV makers. 

BYD reported lackluster first-quarter sales on April 29. The new energy vehicle maker’s January-March revenue was up 3.97% year-on-year, but down nearly 31% quarter-to-quarter. Net profit was up 10.6% year-on-year, but down 47.3% from Q4 2023.

With reports from El Economista and Car News China

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