BYD Co. (01211.HK), a Chinese maker of electric vehicles — the share price of which suddenly plunged last week — announced Tuesday it plans to build two production bases in Europe within a year and a half.
A spokesman for the Shenzhen-based carmaker told EJ Insight it wants to meet rising demand for green vehicles in Europe, which leads the world in environmental protection policies.
The expected growth in demand for electric buses and passenger cars in Europe is an important factor driving BYD’s decision to build manufacturing facilities there, he said.
One production base will be located in Britain, and the other will be set up in a European country close to Russia.
Strict regulations make it difficult for BYD to construct factories in Europe, the company said, so it will not build the plants but will own the facilities through acquisition or partnership.
In October, BYD sold 34 e6 electric taxis in Brussels, Belgium, and 22 units of the e6 in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Over the past three to four years, it said, it has recorded strong sales growth in Europe.
The BYD spokesman declined to disclose details of its partners in Europe, the potential size of the investments or the capacity of its production facilities.
On Dec. 18, the company’s shares closed nearly 30 percent lower at HK$25.05 in Hong Kong after tumbling as much as 47 percent at one stage. In Shenzhen, the stock fell the daily limit of 10 percent.
In a conference call the same day, company secretary Qian Li said BYD’s operations were normal and sought to dispel what he called rumors about the firm.
Li described rumors circulating in the market about BYD — including suggestions that its founder and chairman had been arrested — as “ridiculous” and urged investors to ignore them.
He also dismissed talk of BYD having a large exposure to the troubled Russian market, describing the company’s investment in that country as “very small”.
Mid-afternoon Tuesday, BYD was trading at HK$28.90, up 3.77 percent. The benchmark Hang Seng Index was flat.
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