While BYTON, the premium brand for smart electric vehicles, has just started pre-production of its M-Byte at its plant in Nanjing, China, the course is being set for the market launch in Europe.
In all relevant markets, the development of tailor-made concepts and negotiations with potential partner companies is being conducted. During the last weeks various MOU´s (Memorandum of Understanding) were signed with Hedin Automotive in Sweden, the French BYmyCAR Group, Salvador Caetano from Portugal and Modern Driving from Switzerland.
The BYTON M-Byte is a premium SUV and the first BYTON product to start pre-production in Nanjing. With the 48-inch display, BYTON is fulfilling the promise of a forward-looking, user-oriented operating philosophy that is changing the way people spend their time in the car. The curved 48-inch display is the world's largest display in a production vehicle.
The BYTON M-Byte is positioned in the premium segment with a very competitive entry price of 45,000 € (excl. VAT and excl. possible government subsidies).
The entry-level model with a rear-mounted electric motor offers a peak output of 200 kW (272 hp) and a range of up to 360 kilometres or 224 miles (WLTP). The 4WD high-performance configuration of 300 kW (408 hp) is designed for a possible range of 435 kilometres or 270 miles (WLTP).
The battery capacity of the entry-level model of the BYTON M-Byte is 72 kWh. The 4WD high-performance model has a battery capacity of 95 kWh.
BYTON's production facility is located in the Nanjing Economic and Technological Development Zone in Jiangsu Province and covers an area of 800,000 m² with a total investment of over USD 1.5 billion and a planned capacity of 300,000 units per year. The plant is built to industry standard 4.0 and features state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and technologies as well as an innovative intelligent management system.
Q&A with BYTON CCO, Andreas Schaaf about Sales in Europe
Question: With a new operating philosophy, BYTON is breaking with classic patterns in the automotive industry. Instead of horsepower, BYTON relies on data power. How can this be seen at the touch points with the customers - for example in retail and in after-sales or service?
Andreas Schaaf: We rely on a hybrid sales and service model. Online and offline channels are complementary and equally important. The customer decides and chooses his 'customer journey'. We control the digital channels such as apps and webstores ourselves.
Question: What is the Status of the Negotiations? And With Whom do you Negotiate?
Andreas Schaaf: The first talks started a few months ago, but the great success at the IAA and the current start of production have, of course, given us an additional push. The first letters of intent were signed in the last few days. We have still got a lot of inquiries here from all the different markets, so now we must look very closely at which companies are the best fit – which also includes in terms of mindset – for us and our future customers. After all, customer requirements and customer demands of the next generation - our target group - will deviate considerably from the previous ones. This must also be reflected in our understanding of sales and service. Important here are partners who are prepared to really think new in this area and who are not tainted by old structures. In some areas, these may well be companies that have had nothing to do with the automotive industry up to now but embody a lifestyle that suits our customers.
Question: In which European Markets does BYTON Start First?
Andreas Schaaf: We approach Europe as a whole, but clearly prioritize individual markets here. These include Scandinavia and Norway in particular. We already have over 14,000 vehicle reservations from Norway alone via our app and website. More than 50 percent of all new cars currently sold in Norway are already electrically powered. However, markets such as Germany, the location of our Design Center, BeNeLux, France, Switzerland and Great Britain are also important. In any case, there will be a staggered roll-out here.