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China's BYD to open electric bus assembly plant in France

By Du Xiaoying in London | | Updated: 2017-03-24 22:39

China's electric carmaker BYD Company Ltd announced on Thursday that it will invest 10 million euros in an electric bus assembly plant in the town of Allonne, near Beauvais, in Hauts-de-France.

According to BYD, the project calls for about 100 jobs to be created in the initial phase. The production facility will assemble up to 200 single-deck buses and coaches a year in its first phase. Other vehicles may be added afterwards when BYD expands its product line.

The buses are intended for the French market. BYD already has a deal with Scottish-based bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis, under which they supply electronic components and batteries, as well as chassis, and Alexander Dennis builds the coachwork and assembles the final product, which is aimed at the UK market.

The buses are already being used by Go Ahead on some of their London routes, and in October last year signed a deal with Arriva Northwest, which operates bus services in Liverpool.

Xavier Bertrand, president of the Hauts-de-France region, said: "BYD's decision to set up in Hauts-de-France is great news for employment - our region's top priority. A plant like this shows that we can attract major international corporations when we invest the resources to do so."

Bertrand said the region aims to be a leader in energy transition, therefore the production of electric buses fits in perfectly with the region.

Caroline Cayeux, senator and mayor of Beauvais and president of the Beauvais conurbation, said: "BYD's choice confirms the Beauvais region's appeal for business, and underscores our capacity to host cutting-edge industries."

"The result is the win-win partnership that we are launching officially today, and I'm delighted both for our region and for the people who live here," she added.

The production is scheduled to get underway in the first half of 2018. In addition to bus assembly, BYD plans to build an after-sales unit for maintenance and repairs, as well as a logistics center for spare parts. In future, the company could also add a test center for batteries.

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