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BYD goes upscale, plans to launch multiple luxury models this year

The BYD Yangwang U8 has raised comparisons with the Range Rover. Image: BYD

Chinese carmaker BYD plans to launch a number of "high-end luxury" models by the end of this year, the company told the Hong Kong stock market in an exchange filing.

The move reflects the company's aspirations to move into the more lucrative segment of the EV market. Last year, it had unveiled the Yangwang U8, a super luxury model priced at ~$150,000, as it sought to move up the value chain.

BYD's luxury models could find their way to the US: recent news indicates the Shenzhen-based company is in talks to set up an EV manufacturing plant in Mexico, which could serve as a springboard to enter the US market.

BYD is reported to be performing a feasibility study for the proposed plant, and is negotiating with Mexican officials over the terms of the investment and the location of the unit. The company last year overtook Tesla to become the top selling EV manufacturer globally. 

Image Courtesy: Investors.com

Meanwhile, the company known for comparatively cheaper cars has also strengthened its position at the bottom of the pyramid. Earlier this week, it launched a new version of its plug-in hybrid, the Qin Plus DM-i, pricing the variant 20 percent cheaper than the previous model, and lower than top selling-petrol-fueled cars such as the Volkswagen Lavida and Toyota Corolla.

It said the new version was aimed at helping accelerate the transition to EVs by helping customers shift from fossil-fuel-powered vehicles. In a statement on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo, the company boldly proclaimed: "The price will make petrol car assemblers tremble," adding that "The Glory Edition (as the model is called) will become a benchmark for the Class-A [compact] car segment."

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