NZ's next Chinese car manufacturer revealed: Meet BYD

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Words: Matthew Hansen
16 Feb 2021

New Zealand’s new-vehicle distributor landscape is one of the most diverse in the world, thanks to our proximity to Asia and an ongoing local thirst for premium brands. And now another Chinese brand is set to enter the fray — BYD, or Build Your Dreams.

While it’s hardly a household name in New Zealand, BYD is enormous in its home market. It also already has something of a presence in New Zealand, via a small fleet of fully electric buses. Now it’s set to follow this with a series of electrified passenger vehicles.

While the news hasn’t been announced locally, overseas reports confirm that the brand will be expanding to New Zealand as part of an expansion that also includes Australia. The brand is set to be sold through distributor Nexport, with pre-sales to kick off in July 2021 and cars arriving from 2022.

The brand is set to focus on electric products, which are going to be sold in an online-only capacity in order to cut costs and help the EVs achieve price parity with ICE rivals.

NZ Autocar has attempted to contact Nexport for further comment, and awaits its response. Speaking to Australian outlet CarAdvice its CEO Luke Todd said he expects the brand to “shake up the Australian dealership model.”

“The dealership network model is broken when it comes to electric vehicles,” he said. “Under our model, we will be reducing the price to consumers by as much as 30 per cent. A heavy reliance on after sales and convoluted importation processes adds unnecessary cost.

“By revamping these processes, we're targeting a sale price that's at parity with internal combustion vehicles. [...] All next generation BYD products will feature the brand's proprietary 'Blade Battery' technology, and are unlike any other offerings currently in Australia.”

Several Chinese marques are already sold in New Zealand, including Great Wall Motors, MG, LDV, Haval, and formerly Chery. None have a significant presence in the local registration charts, but it seems inevitable that the sales will come. MG’s new ZS EV, for example, has become one of the country's most popular electric cars.

BYD currently offers five models in its home market with a variety of powertrain options, including electric. Among these models are three SUVs, a sedan, and an MPV — although it’s been noted that the models set to be offered in Australasia are ones that aren’t yet sold to the public elsewhere.


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