BYD taking KwaZulu-Natal by storm

The new energy revolution is irreversible, and South Africa will not escape this change in mobility. The world’s largest manufacturer of electric vehicles, China’s BYD, is cementing its foundation in South Africa with a dealer network and homologation of vehicles.

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BYD recently dethroned the American giant, Tesla, to take the top spot as a manufacturer of new energy vehicles, predominately fully electric cars. BYD also announced that its first transport ship equipped with batteries and generators, which can carry 7 000 vehicles, set sail recently. The company believes in vertical integration by providing everything from manufacturing to delivering its products.

The latest news is the establishment of four BYD dealerships in KwaZulu-Natal by the Alpine Motor Group, a household name in the province with more than 16 dealerships representing different brands here.

A flagship standalone BYD dealership is ready in Umhlanga and another one in Ballito as part of a multi-franchise dealership and two more is waiting the wings – a standalone dealership in Pinetown and another in Durban, also part of a multi-franchise set-up.

Ravi Naidoo from Alpine Motor Group, standing next to an Atto3, will take charge of the four BYD dealerships in the province.

Ravi Naidoo, a director and one of the owners of the Alpine Motor Group, tells Dealerfloor, they are super excited about the new venture and have homologation Atto3 models at the Umhlanga dealership that customers can come and have a look at and take for a test drive.

“Another new model, more towards the entry side of the market, will be added later and we will kick off with the luxurious BYD Atto3, a compact crossover/sport utility vehicle, available with a choice of between two battery types with different reach in range, starting at R768 000.

“This vehicle is fully specced, from 360-degree cameras to leather seats and numerous convenience and safety features. The BYD Atto 3 comes with a 5-year, 100 000 km full maintenance plan and warranty, while the lithium iron phosphate battery, considered to be the best in the business, has an 8-year warranty.

The new standalone BYD flagship dealership in Umhlanga.

“Our showrooms will play an important part in getting people to the brand as it is the first of its kind here for us. We want to get people to see and experience the vehicle and showcase why it is a good option.

“With charging stations at dealerships, malls and other facilities increasing all the time, range anxiety will become less of an issue, and the ability to charge vehicles at home via different power charging options, will bring peace of mind and ease of operation,” he says.

Ravi mentioned that in the dealerships as such, the main focus is on the showroom floor to make people aware of the brand and the advantages of electric vehicles, and of the company and the Alpine Motor Group as the KZN distributor and dealer network of BYD vehicles.

“Huge parts warehouses and workshops will no longer be necessary as the nature of these vehicles does not require it. BYD itself will have a central facility with wear-and-tear as well as body parts. These vehicles come in once a year for a quick check up, but there is no service, no parts replacement, no oil changes or anything associated with servicing a traditional internal combustion engine vehicle,” Ravi tells Dealerfloor.

He says their BYD dealerships will reflect a lot of commonalties to connect them like the flagship dealership in Umhlanga.

The luxurious interior of the BYD Atto 3. The vehicle comes equipped with every possible comfort and safety feature and is filled with high-tech equipment.

“At dealership level we will evolve as the electric vehicles gain more traction locally and the range of BYD products grow. For us it is important to make the contact with potential customers to introduce them to what we offer and also educate motorists about this exciting form of transport,” he says.

Ravi says the Durban and Pinetown dealerships will be completed during the course of the year and that the next 3 to 5 years will see a massive change towards EVs in South Africa. He adds that technology allowing electric vehicles like BYD to reverse some power back into a household, holds many advantages for a country like South Africa.

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