Sime Darby Motors in talks to bring in BYD’s electric vehicles

It is believed that SIME Darby Motors Sdn Bhd, the automotive arm of Sime Darby Bhd, will bring 2,000 units of BYD Co electric cars based in Shenzhen, China, Malaysia by the end of this year, and another 10,000 units l ‘next year.

The introduction of electric cars from BYD which are much cheaper than those from Tesla, and electric models sold by BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, could boost the adoption of electric vehicles (EV) in the country, as more people could then afford one.

In response to questions from The Edge about the move, Sime Darby confirms preliminary talks with BYD, and that these are still ongoing.

“We are in initial discussions with BYD, which are ongoing. If there are any relevant developments, this will be announced as they occur,” the group said.

“Sime Darby Motors continues to grow our range of electric vehicles through our partnerships with global brands. Besides BMW, other EVs in our portfolio include the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Hyundai Kona EV, Porsche Taycan and Volvo XC40, with many more models in the pipeline.

“Sales of electric vehicles remain encouraging and we continue to see an increase, with orders exceeding allocation,” the group said in the statement.

It is not clear if Sime Darby Motors will import the units directly from China or if they will come from other countries. Indeed, BYD would have entered into a partnership with a Thai company for the distribution of its cars in the kingdom.

In early August, BYD appointed Rever Automotive as local distributor in Thailand. Automotive news website paultan.com says Pornprapha Group, of which Rever is a part, will invest more than THB3 billion (RM366 million) in the first two years to distribute and service BYD.

The website says BYD’s goal is to have 31 dealerships with sales and service centers across Thailand by the end of this year, before expanding the network to around 60 to 70 pitches by next year.

Earlier in April, Australian automotive website The Driven reported that BYD was preparing to set up a new manufacturing plant in Thailand, where it will manufacture electric cars for right-hand drive markets. Malaysia is a right-hand drive market, alongside the UK and Australia.

It’s likely that the Atto 3 electric compact SUV will be chosen as the first model, given the market’s affinity for sports utility vehicles, or SUVs. The Atto 3 is also the first BYD EV model sold in Australia and is expected to be the first model in Thailand as well.

The model retails for just under AU$45,000 on the road including insurance, making it Australia’s most affordable electric car. At this level, the Atto 3 is priced at around RM137,000, which is on par with the Mazda CX5, Toyota Corolla Cross and Nissan X-Trail.

Currently, the cheapest electric SUV in Malaysia is the Hyundai Kona Electric, the price of which starts from RM156,000. The Volvo XC40 Pure Electric costs around RM262,000 while the Kia EV6 costs around RM300,000.

If Sime Darby were to bring in 10,000 units of BYD electric vehicles by next year and sell them here, that’s already a pretty good level for local assembly to do. Sime Darby owns the Inokom assembly plant in Kulim, Kedah, which assembles models from BMW, MINI, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda and Porsche.

The Inokom assembly plant has a production capacity of 38,000 units per year, according to Sime Darby’s website. The site still has plenty of room for expansion, as the current facility only occupies approximately 51% of the 200-acre site.

Sime Darby also owns and operates the Sime Darby Auto Engineering (SDAE) engine assembly plant, where it assembles BMW engines. SDAE has the capacity to produce up to 10,000 motors per year.

If Sime Darby does indeed plan to locally assemble BYD EV models, it must compete with Thailand for the contract. BYD is not currently represented by Sime Darby, nor does it have an assembly or factory contract in Thailand.

However, Rever is already considering a local assembly of BYD electric vehicles to bring to Thailand. It remains to be seen whether BYD will make Thailand its assembly hub in this region.

Sime Darby is pushing the development of EV infrastructure in the country. In early August, the group said it had identified locations for electric vehicle charging stations every 200 to 300 km along highways in Peninsular Malaysia to ensure that all high-density areas are within range of charging stations. recharge.

The group is partnering with TNBX Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Tenaga Nasional Bhd, through TNBX’s GO TO-U e-mobility app, which would give owners of Sime Darby Motors EV the ability to pre-book their charging stations. EV charging via app.

On August 17, Sime Darby chief executive Andrew Basham said the group expects its electric vehicle sales to increase from 3,000 units sold as of June 30, 2022. He said the group is working with organizations trying to grow. the production of electric vehicles.

“Organizations we work with are trying to increase production of electric vehicles, so we will see an increase in electric vehicle sales figures in the next fiscal year, especially in Hong Kong,” Basham said, without naming them.

Revenue from the sale of electric vehicles is only about 4.5% of Sime Darby Motors’ revenue, according to Basham. For the year ended June 30, 2022 (FY2022), Sime Darby’s automotive revenue was RM27.35 billion, slightly lower than the RM28.25 billion recorded in FY2021.

China accounted for 49% of Sime Darby’s automotive division revenue in fiscal 2022, while Malaysia contributed 17.1%.

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