China Tesla rival BYD signs $1bn Turkey plant deal

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China’s largest electric car manufacturer, BYD, has signed a $1 billion (£780 million) deal to establish a manufacturing plant in Turkey as it continues its international expansion.

According to the Turkish state news agency Anadolu, the new plant will have the capacity to produce up to 150,000 vehicles annually.

The facility is projected to create around 5,000 jobs and begin production by the end of 2026.

The agreement was signed at an event in Istanbul, attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and BYD’s chief executive Wang Chuanfu.

BYD did not immediately respond to the BBC’s request for further details on the deal.

This announcement comes as Chinese electric vehicle makers face increasing pressure in the European Union and the US.

Last week, the EU took measures to protect its automotive industry by raising tariffs on Chinese EVs.

As a result, BYD was hit with an additional tariff of 17.4% on vehicles shipped from China to the EU, on top of a 10% import duty.

Turkey is part of the EU’s Customs Union, meaning vehicles made in Turkey and exported to the EU can avoid the extra tariff.

Additionally, the Turkish government has imposed a 40% tariff on imports of Chinese vehicles to support the country’s car manufacturers.

In May, US President Joe Biden increased tariffs on Chinese-made electric cars, solar panels, steel, and other goods. The White House stated that these measures, including a 100% border tax on electric cars from China, were a response to unfair policies and aimed at protecting US jobs.

BYD, backed by veteran US investor Warren Buffett, is the world’s second-largest electric vehicle company, following Elon Musk’s Tesla. The company has been rapidly expanding its production facilities outside of China.

At the end of last year, BYD announced plans to build a manufacturing plant in Hungary, an EU member state. This will be the firm’s first passenger car factory in Europe and is expected to create thousands of jobs.

On Thursday, BYD opened an EV plant in Thailand, marking its first factory in Southeast Asia. The plant will have an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles and is projected to create 10,000 jobs.

Additionally, BYD has announced plans to build a manufacturing plant in Mexico.