BYD closes French plant

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BYD has announced the closure of its bus-building plant at Beauvais in northern France, saying that the company decided to change its strategy, reports French industry magazine Bus & Car Connexion. “BYD France will remain in the form of SAS to develop markets, but the production site will close. The orders were not up to par,” a member of the BYD France management team told the magazine.

In 2017, the manufacturer invested €10m to build the 80,000m2 facility for the assembly of electric buses for the French market using components made in China. Production for other European countries was expected to remain at the company’s Hungarian factory. Production began on 27 August 2018, but since then, the site has produced only around 30 electric vehicles, including ten city buses: four for Beauvais, three for Dunkirk, and two for Orléans. Capacity was expected to be 200 buses per year when the factory opened.

“We had planned to recruit more, to develop but we did not have the expected markets”, explained local management. The facility reportedly used only around a third of the available space in the building and employs just ten production workers. “Their reclassification is planned on other sites”, local management sources said.

BYD retains its eastern European factory in Hungary, where it produces mainly 12m electric city buses and also 8.7m and 18m electric buses as well as chassis for partner Alexander Dennis for the UK market. Electric motors, batteries and charging infrastructure are built off site, chiefly in China. BYD Hungary has delivered electric buses to customers including Dutch operators Connexxion and Syntus, and Sweden’s Nobina as well as Brussels Airport.

The plant did not achieve the expected volumes of over 200 buses per year. BYD