In early October, Wang Chuanfu, global president of BYD, visited Brazil and in Camaçari, 50 kilometers from Salvador, laid the foundation stone for the industrial complex that his conglomerate will establish in the country.
About two months earlier, when the trip was planned, the company still did not know the exact destination of the R$ 3 billion ($ 617 million) investment. It only knew it would come to Brazil, and the location would be in Bahia.
The conviction that the industrial complex would be established, regardless of the political impasse with the area occupied by Ford from 2001 to 2021 and the exact location, signals the importance the company places on gaining market share in Brazil and, subsequently, in Latin America.
While European automakers and even Asian competitors spent the past few years arguing the impracticality of electric vehicles in Brazil, BYD is convinced that the country could become its second-largest market outside of China and the first outside of Asia, in that order.
The reading comes from a combination of conjunctural, structural, and cultural factors. The clean energy matrix, the Brazilian love for cars, the size of the Brazilian economy and its influence over Latin America, and the growing concern for the environment are at the core of the strategy.