BYD amps up brutal China EV price war with bigger discounts on new car versions

BEIJING, (Reuters) – Chinese electric vehicle giant BYD on Wednesday unveiled lower-priced new versions of its Han sedans and Tang SUVs, deepening a protracted and brutal price war in the world’s largest auto market with even larger discounts than those in 2023.

The newly launched Han sedans, available as plug-in hybrids and pure EVs, and the Tang hybrid SUV, will have a starting price that is 10.35% to 14.3% lower than previous versions, Reuters calculations showed.

The products came on the heels of BYD’s introduction of a new version of its Dolphin hatchback and newer plug-in hybrid sedan Qin Plus DM-i last week, both also at lower starting prices.

The pricing indicates that BYD is giving bigger discounts on most of these models than last year. The automaker lowered the starting price for the Qin Plus EV and hybrid by 15% and 20%, respectively, versus price cuts of 8% and 11% respectively for the two models in 2023, Reuters calculations showed.

The starting price for the Tang hybrid was unchanged last year from 2022, when BYD launched the Champion Edition of that model but the new version of Tang hybrid this year is 14% cheaper.

On the other hand, BYD has launched new brands such as Yangwang and Fangchengbao to move upmarket. It unveiled a sportscar U9 under the Yangwang brand on Sunday with a starting price of 1.68 million yuan ($233,353).

China’s new energy vehicle sales fell 38.8% in January versus the previous month, the first such drop since August 2023, as demand faltered despite a renewed discounting push led by Tesla.

($1 = 7.1994 Chinese yuan renminbi)