The China-based electric vehicle manufacturer BYD will be opening its first assembly facility in Canada next year in Ontario. This is in anticipation of surging demand for electric trucks in the country, the company has revealed.
As explained by BYD Canada spokesperson Ted Dowling in a phone interview with Bloomberg, the reason for accelerating investment into a Canada is mostly due to the presence of strong provincial tax incentives creating an environment that is more welcoming to electric vehicles than the US currently is.
“There is less of a barrier to entry when it comes to having Chinese products in Canada compared to the US,” Dowling explained.
“BYD is a global company, but we like to localize,” Dowling continued. “It doesn’t make sense to build everything in China and then ship it. It makes more sense to utilize the incentive programs and policy changes and create jobs in different markets.”
While it’s not been revealed yet where exactly the new facility will be located in Ontario, Dowling did reveal that the company will initially be hiring around 40 people in conjunction with the development. No details have yet been provided about investment costs or possible government incentives or tax breaks.
Bloomberg provides more: “A spokesman for Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development and Growth declined to comment on any investment from BYD. …
“BYD will start its operations in Ontario by shipping technology and components from China and making short-range vehicles such as garbage and delivery trucks, said Dowling. The company intends to expand, hiring more people to add more Canadian content in the future, he said. …
“A core attraction for Ontario is that the region around Toronto has many distribution centers within close proximity, so if one company goes electric and sees their costs reduced, other companies will start doing it too, he said. If successful, BYD could be at the forefront of rebuilding a dormant truck-manufacturing industry, Dowling said. Canada has been losing auto investment to cheaper locations in the US and Mexico with one of the last major commercial truck assembly plants closing in Ontario in 2011.”
“We’re bringing back an industry and we’re doing it through electrification,” Dowling stated. “It’s a totally different game.”
As far as competition in the sector goes, the only notable names on the horizon are Daimler, Tesla, and Navistar/Volkswagen — so BYD may well be able to capture itself some significant market share in Canada before those names get going in the region, just as it has done with electric buses.
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