BYD has ruled out building its first European car factory in the UK because of the impact of Brexit, UK media reports said.
The automaker, targeting sales of about 800,000 cars a year in Europe by 2030, has shortlisted locations in Germany, France, Spain, Poland and Hungary, the Guardian reported on Monday.
The paper cited BYD Europe president Michael Shu, telling the Financial Times: “As an investor we want a country to be stable. To open a factory is a decision for decades. Without Brexit, maybe. But after Brexit, we don’t understand what happened.”
Recent reports said the automaker was considering building a new plant or possibly taking over Ford’s redundant Saarlouis plant in Germany after it ends Focus production in 2025.
According to the Guardian, BYD said the UK had not even made a top 10 list of possible locations to build its first European car plant. The company already makes buses in Europe.
“The UK doesn’t have a very good solution,” Shu was quoted as saying. “Even on the long list we didn’t have the UK.”
The paper noted Tesla chief executive, Elon Musk, had said in 2019 the UK’s decision to leave the EU made it too risky to build a gigafactory here. The company eventually built its first European plant in Berlin where it also created a research and development base.
BYD so far has launched three models in Europe, in markets including Norway and Germany, and the all-electric Atto 3 sports utility vehicle in the UK.
The SUV has already proved to be a huge seller in China and India, where BYD is aiming this year to become the second-largest EV company behind Tata Motors, the Guardian noted.