BYD’s new US$233,450 EV supercar to rival Ferrari, Lamborghini

BYD Co. debuted its most expensive car on Sunday, a 1.68 million yuan ($233,450) high-performance electric supercar pitted against gas-guzzlers offered by rivals such as Ferrari NV and Lamborghini.

The Yangwang U9 initially will be exclusively for the China market, the company said at a live-streamed event in Shanghai. The car can hit 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) in 2.36 seconds and reach a top speed of 309.19 km/h, BYD said.

BYD became the world’s biggest EV seller — overtaking Tesla — in the last quarter of 2023. While it’s better known for making affordable EVs, the company markets its luxury models under the Yangwang and Fang Cheng Bao brands.

With a post-Lunar New Year price war looming in China, the Shenzhen-based giant is betting there remains a market for high-end products which deliver better margins.

Other pricey EVs under the Yangwang brand are due to launch later this year in China, including a luxury sedan that will cost around 1 million yuan.

Yangwang started delivering cars in late November. It has one production model so far, a luxury sport utility vehicle called U8 which costs 1.1 million yuan. The company has delivered 3,653 units as of the end of January.

BYD shares jumped as much as 4.7% in Hong Kong on Monday, after Chairman Wang Chuanfu proposed doubling a buyback of its China-traded shares to 400 million yuan. The company said the move could boost investor confidence, and stabilize and enhance the company’s value.

The automaker’s Hong Kong-listed shares have fallen 12% this year as investors punish EV stocks over concerns sagging demand is forcing companies to cut prices and potentially lower their profit margins.

The company is rolling out refreshes of its existing lineup using the tagline “electricity is cheaper than oil,” cutting prices as well. Morgan Stanley said in a Feb. 19 note that the move is likely targeting combustion engine brands and models from companies including Nissan Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp.

Separately, BYD’s first EV-carrying ship docked in Vlissingen, the Netherlands, last week, concluding an approximate six-week journey from China carrying the company’s newest exports to Europe. –BLOOMBERG