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China's BYD to sell EVs in Mexico in 2023, aims for up to 30,000 sales in 2024

By Kylie Madry

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Chinese electric-vehicle maker BYD said on Tuesday it will launch its cars in Mexico next year, with a senior executive pegging its sales target at up to 30,000 vehicles in 2024.

Next year, BYD will begin selling fully electric versions of its Tang sport utility vehicle (SUV) alongside its Han sedan through eight dealers across Mexico, the company's country head Zhou Zou told Reuters ahead of the announcement.

The world's largest EV maker by sales hopes to sell 10,000 vehicles in Mexico in 2023 and between 20,000 and 30,000 in 2024, Zou said, adding that the firm's long-term goal is to reach around 10% of total market share. Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway still has a stake in BYD after having sold some of its Hong Kong-listed shares in recent months.

As per Mexico's Automotive Industry Association, just 4.5% of cars sold in the first eight months of this year were hybrid, or around 31,000 of nearly 693,000 sold in total.

While BYD declined to name starting prices of its vehicles in Mexico, Zou stressed the company's affordability. "We are the brand for everybody," Zou said.

In September, BYD had set pre-sale prices for its Tanga and Han models at 72,000 euros ($72,500) in Europe. Few Mexicans make more than $10,000 a year, according to the country's statistics agency.

BYD's Zou also said the company aimed to sell cars through 15 licensed dealers in Mexico by the end of 2023 and hit 30 by 2024.

Representatives for the eight distributors, which include department store chain Liverpool and more traditional dealers like Grupo Continental, appeared at an event alongside BYD later on Tuesday.

The company's announcement comes as Mexico, a major car producing hub, looks to make EVs more affordable by cutting sales taxes and import tariffs — moves Zou said marked a positive step.

In recent months, officials in Mexico have said the country is on track to meet its goal of turning 50% of automotive production electric by 2030.

However, a General Motors executive said this month Mexico will more likely reach just 15% by 2030 if it does not change course.

Zou said as U.S. states such as California go fully electric, Mexico — which produces a vast amount of cars for its northern neighbors — will likely follow.

($1 = 0.9654 euros)

(Reporting by Kylie Madry; Editing by Sarah Morlan, Uttaresh.V and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)