BYD is Taking it to Tesla
The BYD Atto 3 consistently scores third on the monthly best-selling electric vehicle podium in Australia. With BYD’s importer EVDirect making some significant announcements recently, it seems like the aim is to take the number one and number two spots from Tesla. In partnership with Eagers Automotive, over 20 new Megastores and Experience Centres will be opened. “The BYD Megastore concept heralds a new era of automotive retail, providing customers with an immersive and educational experience into the BYD brand and product range,” says EVDirect CEO Luke Todd. Looks like BYD is taking it to Tesla.
According to the BYD website, there are 24 “Experience Centres” now operational — eight in Queensland, six in New South Wales, four in Victoria, three in Western Australia, one in the Australian Capital Territory, one in Tasmania, and one in South Australia.
With the imminent deliveries of the Dolphin affordable electric sedan and the recent launch of the Seal (a credible Model 3 competitor), BYD will need all the extra outlets and delivery options it can get. The BYD Atto 3 only arrived on Australia’s shores fewer than 12 months ago, and is consistently selling over 1,000 units a month. BYD expects to be selling 5 models into the Australian market by the end of next year, with a stated aim of 3,000 units per month per vehicle. If it achieves this aim, BYD will have taken 15% of the Australian new vehicle market just for its brand. The experience centres and mega stores are a great foundation to enable this rapid growth. Perhaps we will significantly exceed 10% penetration as BYD is taking it to Tesla.
The Dolphin Facebook page is being filled with excited owners collecting their BYD Dolphins and encouraging those who are still anxiously awaiting delivery. It looks like a small pod of dolphins will be delivered before the end of October, with a much greater number to be delivered in November. Hopefully I will have definite numbers in a couple of weeks, ready for my next EV update.
BYD has also joined forces with Uber to supply 10,000 electric vehicles to the rideshare sector. Over 60% of Uber drivers wish to go electric, but the upfront cost of an electric vehicle is slowing the uptake. Uber is offering a 50% reduction in service fees to some drivers in some states to increase adoption. “Our goal is to provide drivers and delivery people a range of flexible options that make it easier than ever to get behind the wheel of an EV,” said Uber Australia and New Zealand general manager Dom Taylor.
Uber drivers are being offered flexible rental, leasing, or ownership arrangements. EVDirect has vehicles available immediately for Uber drivers and delivery services.
Another innovative marketing initiative undertaken by EVDirect has been the “World’s Biggest Test Drive.” Held across several Australian cities on September 23, it achieved more than 1400 test drives and around 200 orders for the Atto 3. More orders are expected in the coming weeks as salespeople follow up leads. Participants were urged to be part of the rEVolution that is transforming transportation and promised lively conversations with like-minded people if they had to wait for their drive.
I recently interviewed a participant in the Brisbane “World’s Biggest Test Drive” who is enjoying driving her new Atto 3. She shared her views of the experience warts and all:
“I knew about the biggest test drive from an ad on my Facebook feed. My husband and I had been interested to know the ins and outs of the BYD so decided to go and have a look. My son had done a test drive in Sydney and was impressed so we were intrigued. I registered my interest and booked a time to test drive the car. The day was well organized with a phone call a few days prior to check that we were still coming.
“There was a food truck with free food, a coffee cart, music and a radio station.
“We provided our details, including driver’s license so we could both have a drive. Someone came in the car with us and explained a lot of the features as we drove. The drive wasn’t very long (10mins) and only on a 60km road so we couldn’t give the car a good burst of energy but we got the idea! Most staff are really quite young and definitely not your average car salesmen!
“The ‘finance manager’ seemed about 20 and couldn’t answer most of our questions but we did manage to find someone as we were leaving that was able to answer our questions very well. The process of buying the car was a bit tricky! I was pleased that we did get the salesman’s mobile as we had to ring him often to smooth the process.
“The staff obviously monitor the Facebook pages as they had seen a post about the terrible hand over service at Eagle Farm and I commented asking if there was anything I could do to make sure it was a thorough process. They rang my husband the day before we were picking up the car to assure us we would receive a complete and thorough handover.
“We had paid the entire cost prior to collecting and yet they insisted we owed money when we arrived. It took a while to sort that out. We had personalized plates that had to be installed but they didn’t have an Allen key (lucky we’d brought one with us) and then they admitted that the car was only 50% charged!! Considering we were driving back to the Sunshine Coast (about 100 km) we weren’t happy!
“We asked for the car to be fast charged while we got handover. This meant it was at 80% by the time we left.
“I love the car so far! I’ve had it 4 weeks! I only use a power point at home as I don’t really drive that much and so far, that has been sufficient. We have solar which means I charge during the day when I’m home.
“I have had trouble registering for the app as BYD put my husband’s email in the system instead of mine. Despite a couple of phone calls and an email it hasn’t changed so I gave up and just use his.
“I had been driving a Hyundai i30 and loved it too but was finding it a bit low so wanted something higher off the ground. I’m not really a car person so I’m happy as long as I can get from A to B easily.”
She has joined the thousands of satisfied BYD Atto 3 drivers who find the car an absolute joy to drive. With BYD’s rapid expansion of models, delivery outlets, and Uber partnership, we may find that there will be many thousands more as BYD is taking it to Tesla.
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