Chinese automaker BYD mulling plant in PH
MANILA, Philippines — Chinese automaker BYD, the world’s largest producer of electric vehicles, is exploring the prospect of putting up a production facility in the Philippines, but such a move would largely depend on the level of government support and incentives, such as tax exemptions.
James Ng, the managing director for BYD’s Philippines and Singapore units, told reporters recently that they were still in the exploratory stage but are studying the feasibility of putting up a local assembly line.
“We have no plans at the moment but we are exploring,” said Ng, noting that they are currently focusing on their distributorship partnership with Ayala subsidiary AC Motors.
Almost two weeks ago, BYD and AC Motors announced their partnership deal, with the latter expecting to open 12 BYD dealerships in the Philippines in the next 12 months.
The Shenzhen-based BYD Co. Ltd. recently overtook Tesla as the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer. Its net profit last year hit $2.4 billion, according to the listed firm’s latest financial report.
AC Motors president Antonio Zara III had said during the announcement of the company’s partnership with BYD that they will put up these distributorships not just in Metro Manila, but also in the Visayas and Mindanao.
“We are also receiving applicants for Metro Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao,” Zara said during the press briefing. In these BYD dealership stores, AC Motors will offer the luxury executive sedan, BYD Han, the seven-seater family sport utility vehicle (SUV), BYD Tang; and the compact hatchback, BYD Dolphin.
By the end of this year, the president of Ayala Corp.’s automotive arm said they would also introduce the BYD ATTO 3 to the Philippine market, a compact electric crossover SUV. The AC Motors executive said that they expect the share of EV to make up 10 percent to 20 percent of the total vehicle sales in the Philippines, with the Ayala group targeting to get a significant share of that market.
The conglomerate is optimistic about the growth prospects of the local EV market with the entry of more models and the continued decline in prices.
EVs include hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles.
AC Motors said that aside from distributorship, it planned to enhance the EV “ecosystem,” such as by putting up more charging stations so that potential buyers will not be worried about running out of power while driving.
“Range anxiety” has been identified as one of the top reasons preventing more buyers from switching to electric vehicles.