BANGKOK (AP) — Chinese automaker BYD said Friday that it plans to build a new electric vehicle plant in Hungary, its first car factory in Europe, as part of its rapid global expansion.
Hungary will be the center for its European operations, BYD said in a notice on its Weibo social media account.
BYD, based in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, said it plans to create thousands of jobs in creating a "local green ecosystem" for manufacturing its electric vehicles. The factory will have an advanced production line and will be built in phases, it said without giving details on the amount of money to be invested.
BYD is among EV manufacturers making fast inroads into Europe, to the extent that European regulators have begun a probe into Chinese government support for the industry. The company, whose name stands for "Build Your Dreams," began direct EV sales in Hungary in October.
The company says it plans to launch three new models in Europe within the coming year in addition to the five models it is already selling that include sedans, hatchbacks and SUVs. BYD has 230 outlets in 19 European countries, it says.
The factory is to be based in Szeged in southern Hungary, near the border with Serbia and Romania. The city, Hungary's third-largest, is a center for education and technology. BYD also has a bus manufacturing facility in Hungary.
BYD has been at the forefront of a wave of Chinese electric car exporters that are leveraging their fast-developing technology and low prices to compete with Western and Japanese brands in their home markets.
BYD has led sales in China this year of so-called new energy vehicles, or EVs and hybrids, as they reached a third of total auto sales in China. BYD sold just over a million EVs in China in January-October, up more than 68% from a year earlier and holds a market share of over 26%, according to the China Passenger Car Association.
That compares with 464,654 Teslas sold in China in the same period, up nearly 38% for a 12% market share, it said.