BYD Atto 3 India local assembly will begin in Phase 2, new products planned
BYD India is looking to garner decent volumes with the e6 and Atto 3 in the coming year. Both models arrive as Semi-Knocked down (SKD) kits, which means prices are at a premium. However, the automaker is considering Completely Knocked Down (CKD) kits in the future and the Atto 3 will be locally assembled in India in Phase 2 of the company’s strategy.
Speaking to HT Auto in a recent interaction, Sanjay Gopalakrishnan, Senior Vice President - BYD India said, “In terms of game plan, we are going to do SKD kits for next year. We will stabilise the production and try to get the 15,000 number next year with the Atto 3 and e6. How the market is going to go and behave and how the BYD brand is accepted by the customers. Based on that, Phase 2 of the strategy could be CKD, plus new products."
Sanjay G. also explained there are plans to upgrade the e6 MPV, which was its maiden product in India and has been on sale for over a year now. The timeline for the update has not been revealed but a seven-seater version is certainly not in the works, we are told.
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The BYD Atto 3 is the Chinese carmaker’s new halo product in India and the model is priced at ₹33.99 lakh (ex-showroom). The steep pricing has been a point of contention for potential buyers considering comparable models like the Hyundai Kona Electric priced from ₹23.84 lakh onwards, while the MG ZS EV range begins at ₹22.58 lakh (all prices are ex-showroom). However, local assembly would mean lower taxation as well as a more affordable price tag that will help the carmaker compete more effectively against rivals.
Local assembly is also more important in BYD’s long-term strategy for India considering the brand is aiming to capture a 30 per cent market share of the EV segment by 2030. The Chinese giant is a global leader in the electric mobility space and has had a presence in India with electric buses as well as components for electric vehicles. However, the foray in the electric passenger car market marks a big step in the brand’s global expansion plans and Sanjay G says that India is a key market in BYD’s overseas strategy in the next 10 years.
“As an ambition for BYD India we are looking at 2030, we should capture 30 per cent of the electric vehicle segment. Keeping that ambition in mind, we will make the plans because that’s an ambitious step forward looking at India as a big EV market and BYD being a global leader in this space [EVs], we have to become the leader in the segment. That’s why we are looking at 30 per cent of total EV sales by 2030," he added.
The company is tight-lipped about the products that will follow the Atto 3 in India. BYD is very clear that there are no new products coming in 2023 and the focus will be on establishing the brand and growing its presence with a new dealer network. The automaker plans to have about 24 outlets by the end of 2022, which will increase to about 53 showrooms by December 2023.
BYD is looking to compete in the premium end of the Indian electric vehicle segment for now, which has limited competition. Both the BYD e6 and Atto 3 do not have direct rivals at the same price point but the former will take on offerings like the Toyota Innova HyCross and Kia Carnival, while the Atto 3 has mid-size SUVs like the Citroen C5 Aircross and Hyundai Tucson to compete with. BYD says it has received over 1,500 bookings for the Atto 3 since the launch in November this year, while over 650 units of the e6 electric MPV have been sold so far.