Italy reached out to BYD about plans for European car plant

Albertina Torsoli, Bloomberg News on

Published in Business News

BYD Co. has been contacted by the Italian government as part of the country’s efforts to attract a second car manufacturer beyond Fiat maker Stellantis NV.

“We have some contacts to discuss about that,” Michael Shu, managing director of BYD Europe, said in an interview at the Geneva International Motor Show. The need for a second European plant “depends on our sales — now we’re making very good progress.”

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government has plans to attract a new major carmaker to Italy after Stellantis signaled it may move some production to lower-cost countries. Manufacturers are under pressure to become more efficient in the EV transition with battery vehicle prices still far higher than equivalent combustion-engine cars.

BYD, which overtook Tesla Inc. as the world’s biggest EV maker last year, in December confirmed it’ll build a factory in Hungary to help boost sales in the region. The manufacturer is focusing on Hungary and it’s too soon to say when and if a decision will be made on a second site, Shu said.

Asked about potential interest by BYD, Industry Minister Adolfo Urso said Tuesday on the sidelines of an event in southern Taranto that he hopes Italy would be like other European nations with several car-makers producing on its soil to “strengthen” the country’s automotive supply chain, according to comments cited by newswire AGI.

Urso said earlier this month that Italy “backed the arrival” of a second producer, calling it “a project we have been working on for months with meaningful talks with foreign partners.”


The move has raised the prospect of yet another competitor to Europe’s domestic carmakers, particularly for Volkswagen, Stellantis and Renault that serve the competitive mass-market segment.

BYD’s investment in Hungary comes a few months after the European Union announced a probe into state subsidies to Chinese EV makers, and could help the company avoid any additional import tariffs. The manufacturer has been cooperating in the investigation, Shu said.

“We have strong products and technology and supply-chain management flexibility,” he said. “Based on facts, I don’t think” the company’s success in Europe “is coming from subsidies.”

(With assistance from Alberto Brambilla and Chiara Albanese.)

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