BYD, one of China’s largest electric vehicle manufacturers, was reportedly in talks to take over Ford’s assembly plant in Saarlouis, Germany, but Stella Li, the Chinese automaker’s executive vice president, now says that the company is more likely to build its own factory in Europe.
“We aren’t focusing on certain companies’ facilities,” Li told Bloomberg recently. “We’re doing feasibility studies to see our plans for the future. Like, if we set up our facility in that region, what’s the best solution out there?”
Reports emerged in January that the American automaker’s executives were headed to China to engage in preliminary talks with the Chinese automaker about taking over the plant where the soon-to-be discontinued Focus is currently made.
More: China’s BYD In Talks To Buy Ford’s Saarlouis Plant In Germany
At the time, though, a Ford spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that it was investigating a number of options as part of the process of shutting the plant down. With BYD looking to expand to more markets following its success in China, the plant seemed like a convenient option.
The Chinese automaker has announced plans to sell its vehicles in a number of European countries, including Germany, Sweden, Norway, France, and the United Kingdom. As a result, Li said that no country has been targeted yet as the one where it will choose to build its plant, and the company has said previously that it might be interested in having more than one plant in Europe.
In the future, BYD plans to focus its efforts on Asia, Europe, and South America. The first two markets, it says, are leading EV adoption, while it hopes to increase EV penetration into the South American market. There, the vehicles control just two percent of the market, but BYD hopes to increase that piece of the pie to between 10 and 20 percent within the next five years, largely by concentrating on electrifying government and corporate fleets.
There, too, the automaker has been tied to former Ford plants and was reported to be in talks with the American automaker to take over some of its facilities in Brazil’s Bahia state.