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Hungary is key to Chinese auto giant BYD's plans to grab market share in Europe

Pablo Gutierrez in Budapest


Chinese automotive giant BYD wants to leave its competitors in the European market trailing in the dust. With a batch of upcoming releases due this year, the eastern European country of Hungary is pivotal to its strategy.

BYD's planned manufacturing facility in Szeged, in southeast Hungary, will mark a significant milestone as the first of its kind in Europe for a Chinese automaker. Meanwhile, Hungary is keen to put itself in the fast lane of electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing. 

BYD is a Chinese automotive behemoth but a comparatively fresh entrant on the European scene. It has ambitious plans to capture 10 percent of Europe's Electric Vehicle market by the end of the decade and sees Hungary as its launching pad.

The BYD SEAL U will be released later this year. /BYD Handout
The BYD SEAL U will be released later this year. /BYD Handout

The BYD SEAL U will be released later this year. /BYD Handout

Peter Erhardt, BYD Hungary's Public Relations Manager, told CGTN: "BYD achieved an impressive 62 percent year-on-year growth last year, positioning us among the top ten car companies in the world."

BYD's forthcoming Szeged plant is slated to commence vehicle production next year, marking a significant step in familiarizing European consumers with the brand.


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Automotive industry journalist Andras Szorenyi emphasizes the significance of the move, stating: "Local production brings people to a product. For Chinese manufacturers, it's a possibility to lift their brand image when they have a 'Made in the EU' sign or stamp on them."

As part of its European expansion, BYD is forging partnerships with organizers of the Euro 2024 football championships in Germany this summer, providing an ideal platform to showcase its electric vehicles in the heart of Europe's automotive industry. Despite facing fierce competition from established players like Volkswagen, BMW, and Mercedes, BYD is already carving its niche among the EV giants.


In 2022, BYD sold 1.86 million battery-powered vehicles worldwide, including plug-in hybrids with electric and gas engines, outpacing Tesla, which sold 1.3 million electric cars. Analysts predict BYD's Szeged plant will help give it the potential to dominate the European electric vehicle industry by the decade's end.

Moreover, the plant is poised to underscore Hungary's escalating significance in the global EV industry, as David Morris, Senior Fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, acknowledged.

He told CGTN: "This positions Hungary really at the heart of this green transition into electric vehicles. Hungary has already attracted a lot of electric battery companies from China; it has a lot of automotive players, with German and Japanese companies establishing a presence here. For BYD to designate this as its manufacturing center for Europe is indeed a significant development."

While rival European carmakers are intensifying efforts to secure their positions in the burgeoning electric market, BYD's imminent release of its new five-seat mid-size SUV, the BYD SEAL U, later this year solidifies its status as a formidable contender in the European EV landscape.

Hungary is key to Chinese auto giant BYD's plans to grab market share in Europe

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Video editor: Butchy Davy

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