Electric vehicles manufacturer BYD plans to launch five pure EV models in France to expand its presence in overseas markets.
The Shenzhen, Guangdong province-based automaker said it would deliver the first batch of cars to French dealerships as early as this month, and sales will begin shortly thereafter.
BYD, working with partners, hopes to build 15 to 20 points of sale in France by the end of this year.
"We are now assessing the feasibility of building a passenger vehicle plant in Europe, and we are looking for an appropriate location for such a facility," the Warren Buffett-backed company said.
The announcement comes amid reports that BYD is in talks with France to establish a manufacturing facility there.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that US carmaker Ford Inc is in negotiations with BYD to sell one of its plants in Germany.
However, Li Ke, executive vice-president of BYD, said in an interview with Bloomberg that BYD has been striving to build its own facility in Europe rather than purchasing a unit from other companies.
Industry experts said the launch of BYD's EVs in France may accelerate the establishment of its own plant in Europe.
Zhang Xiang, visiting professor at the engineering department of Huanghe Science and Technology University, said he is optimistic about BYD's potential in France.
He pointed out that, compared with models from French brands such as Renault and Citroen, BYD excels in aspects such as mileage and onboard features.
If BYD succeeds in France, he added, it will be easier for the company to establish itself in other major European markets.
BYD plans to raise its EV sales in Europe to 800,000 units by 2030, taking a 10 percent market share and becoming one of the top three EV brands in Europe.
Currently, the company sells EVs in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Spain and Portugal.
The company said three of its EV models will be launched in Italy and Hungary later this year.
BYD's first wholly owned overseas unit for passenger vehicles is coming up in Thailand, with an annual output of 150,000 units. The unit, which launched construction in March, is expected to be put into operation next year. Apart from Southeast Asia and Europe, the company also plans to build plants in South America.