Bangkok Post – BYD acquires 20% stake in Thai dealer

Move by Chinese EV giant comes amid local complaints about discounting practices

BYD Dolphin compact hatchback electric vehicles are seen inside the company’s new Thailand assembly plant, which it officially opened on Thursday in Nikhom Phatthana district of Rayong. (Photo: Bloomberg)

The Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD will acquire a 20% stake in its local distributor Rever Automotive in Thailand, its largest market outside of China where it is the EV market leader, the companies said on Saturday.

The Shenzhen-based automaker opened its first factory in Southeast Asia in Rayong this week. The $490-million plant will have an annual manufacturing capacity of 150,000 vehicles and employ 10,000 workers.

Rever Automotive, which has over 100 showrooms in Thailand, launched sales of BYD vehicles in 2022 and BYD soon became the country’s top-selling EV brand.

“We are thrilled to deepen our partnership to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and contribute to Thailand’s transition towards a more sustainable future,” said Liu Xueliang, Asia-Pacific auto sales general manager for BYD.

In the first quarter of 2024, BYD commanded a 46% share of Thailand’s EV market and is now the third-largest player in passenger cars overall, according to the research firm Counterpoint.

The acquisition comes even as Rever faces a number of complaints by unhappy EV buyers that have led to an investigation by the Consumer Protection Board.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin even waded into the debate this week, calling on BYD to ensure protection and a proper pricing policy for consumers.

The Consumer Protection Board said it had received as many as 70 complaints from people who said dealers urged them to act fast and buy their cars before a discount promotion ended. However, prices were subsequently cut even further, leaving many buyers feeling “short-changed”.

BYD chief executive Wang Chuanfu, who was in Thailand for the factory opening, assured the prime minister that future pricing would be appropriate and the company would find ways to help affected customers.

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