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China’s BYD Builds Good Model That Undercuts U.S. EVs By Thousands

Ford Chief Views Threat To Market Posed by China’s Inexpensive BYD Seagull; Feels Heat

At a time when Ford’s primary EVs are the Mustang Mach-E, the Ford F-150 Lightning, and the Ford Maverick hybrid, Ford’s leadership is viewing the coming onslaught from China’s BYD with lots of wariness.

Worrisome Time For Ford

This is not an easy time for Jim Farley, Ford CEO. He had a chance to look closely at what the competition from China may be, and he is concerned. He looked at the competition from BYD, which seems poised to enter the U.S. market with inexpensively priced EVs that offer a reasonable range and good build quality.

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Indeed, Farley got serious about it last week when he had a chance to take a close look at what he considers the primary threat to the U.S. electric vehicle (EV) market, and the Ford leader not only said that he considers Chinese EVs a threat, pointing to the BYD Seagull as the leading threat.

As the Ford Authority, a significant source of independent information on Ford, pointed out:

Comments Aren’t A Big Surprise

“These comments don’t come as a huge surprise … given that the Chinese automakers recently lowered the price of this entry-level EV to just below $10,000 (69,800 yuan), which is far, far cheaper than any all-electric vehicle currently sold in the U.S.”

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In the meantime, Autoline Network looked at the Seagull and took some critical notes on what makes it tick.

The Seagull that Autoline had a chance to look at has a “sticker” of $11,500. It comes equipped with “the larger 38.8 kWh battery pack.” Autoline told FA that “looking around, one can find a few areas where cost-cutting measures are evident, but overall, it’s a pretty nice-looking vehicle that doesn’t appear to be some kind of bargain-basement build.”

Solidly Built Inexpensive EV

Some of the most noticeable items they found included a single windshield wiper instead of two, and there’s no rear windshield wiper.” In other words, the “’ lacks” were nothing major.’”

Even As Market Battles, the races for affordability goes on

Going a little deeper in its analysis, Autoline noted that “many components present on the BYD Seagull don’t come from suppliers—instead, the headlights, batteries, electric motors, trim, body panels, and many other parts are made by the company in-house, which helps reduce costs.” Further, they pointed out that “vertical integration [used by BYD] is one of the major keys to [its] success in general.

More interesting, though, is the build quality, which appears pretty solid, too.” There are no unnecessary trim or other pieces,” as well.

Looking closely at the interior, Autoline found that it was quite nicely done. It is not what one would expect in such an inexpensive vehicle.

Indeed, Autoline points out that the Seagull “has contrast stitching and features like cruise controls and wireless charging.” It also has four-wheel disc brakes.

Rides Well and Comfortably; 252-mile range

The Seagull reportedly rides comfortably and drives well, though it won’t blow anyone away regarding performance.” Throw in the fact that it has 252 miles of range, and it is pretty clear why people like Jim Farley are worried about the Seagull making it to the U.S. market.

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971. His automotive articles have appeared in venues including Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, and others. You can follow Marc on Twitter or Facebook.