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Chinese new energy vehicle manufacturers zero in on Brazil 

Forward-thinking marques like GWM and BYD make the shift in the wake of US tariffs and as new imposts loom in the EU and Brazil itself
  • BYD now has 100 dealers in Brazil and aims to grow this number to 250 by the end of this year

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UPDATED: 30 May 2024, 8:00 am

Brazil has solidified its position as the largest export market for Chinese new energy vehicles (NEVs) with 40,163 units purchased in April, a 13-fold increase year-on-year, marking Brazil’s second straight month at the top.

The shift is the product of two factors: an anti-subsidy probe by the European Union dinging sales to the 27-nation bloc and a surge in exports to Brazil ahead of an increase in tariffs set for July. Both measures are intended to protect local NEV producers from being undercut by well-subsidised Chinese marques. 

As the door closes on cheaper exports into Latin America’s largest car market, some Chinese NEV companies have already begun laying the necessary groundwork to stay competitive by becoming domestic manufacturers.

[See more: Guangdong’s electric vehicle output surged by more than 80 percent last year]

GWM acquired land for its Brazilian factory in 2021 and the following year announced a US$1.9 billion investment in the South American nation, including a build out of the local charging network to support use of NEVs. Their factory is set to open later this year.

BYD is also investing heavily in Brazil, purchasing an old Ford factory in the northeastern state of Bahia and converting it into a three-part complex that produces electric bus and truck chassis, NEVs and lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery materials. Notably, it has also been in talks with Brazilian green lithium producer, Sigma Lithium.

While talks are ongoing and the plant is set to roll out vehicles sometime this year, BYD is celebrating another milestone in strengthening its market position in Brazil: gaining its 100th dealer on 23 May. The company plans to expand to 250 dealers by the end of the year, an ambitious goal requiring the addition of an average of 19 dealers a month.

UPDATED: 30 May 2024, 8:00 am

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