Chinese electric car brand BYD to enter Irish market this year

Chinese Electric Car Brand Byd To Enter Irish Market This Year
BYD plans to have its mid-sized ATTO 3 model on the Irish market this year
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Michael McAleer

Chinese car giant BYD is formally entering the Irish market this year, appointing Motor Distributors Ltd (MDL) as its Irish partner and distributor.

The world's largest maker of electrified vehicles, BYD plans to have its mid-sized ATTO 3 model on the Irish market this year. The car is built on the company's new generation platform, and the front-wheel drive EV claims a range of 420km on a full charge of its Blade Battery 60.5kWh power unit.


BYD, which is part-owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, last year overtook Tesla as the world's biggest electric vehicle producer by sales. The company has emphasised the importance of reducing the use of vital minerals in battery technology and a major innovation of its Blade Battery unit is that it is produced without the use of cobalt.

MDL, which currently holds the Irish franchise for Mercedes-Benz, said it will "establish a dealer network in Ireland whose purpose will be to provide localised sales and aftersales services to BYD customers across the country." It has not said how many dealers it will appoint. However, it says the BYD deal will lead to an additional 150 jobs in the company, bringing its total staff number to 450.

MDL chief executive Paddy Finnegan said the BYD agreement gave the Irish company the opportunity "to re-establish a strong presence in the volume-selling segment of the Irish market".

“For these and many other reasons all relating to their own ambitions and priorities in an increasingly eco-conscious world, the partnership now established between BYD and MDL is one that promises a rewarding and value-laden future for all concerned, including those dealers we will appoint to market their vehicles and the many future BYD owners whose motoring dreams we have yet to build,” Mr Finnegan said.


MDL is owned by the O'Flaherty family, having first secured the rights to the Volkswagen franchise in Ireland in 1950. Ireland became the first country outside Germany to assemble the Beetle. The company went on to distribute and retail several brands including VW-owned marques such as Skoda, Audi and Seat. It also distributed Mazda until 2006. The VW Group took direct control of its brands in 2008. Alongside its distribution business, it has retail outlets under its MSL Motor Group division.

BYD was founded in 2003 with a focus on electric vehicles and battery development. With a leading presence on Asian markets, it has recently expanded into Europe, with a target of four million sales in 2023.

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