China's BYD Struggles to Gain Traction with Electric Truck in South Korean Market | Be Korea-savvy

China’s BYD Struggles to Gain Traction with Electric Truck in South Korean Market

BYD's electric truck T4K.   (Image courtesy of GS Global)

BYD’s electric truck T4K.
(Image courtesy of GS Global)

SEOUL, Apr. 12 (Korea Bizwire) — BYD, China’s leading electric vehicle manufacturer, is grappling with dismal sales of its T4K electric truck, launched in South Korea last year.

As electric vehicle subsidies were significantly reduced this year, GS Global, the official importer and distributor of the T4K, has resorted to offering discounts of around 10 million won in an effort to boost sluggish demand.

According to data from Carisyou Data Research Institute, a mere 298 units of the T4K have been sold since its introduction in April 2023 through the end of last month. GS Global had ambitiously targeted sales of 3,000 units for the T4K in 2023 upon its launch last year.

The T4K is a one-ton electric truck equipped with BYD’s lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery and imported from Chinese factories. While Chinese electric vehicles utilizing the cost-effective LFP batteries typically offer competitive pricing, the T4K carries a higher sticker price than its rivals.

Priced at 46.69 million won, the T4K is 2.74 million to 2.84 million won more expensive than Hyundai Motor’s Porter Electric (43.95 million won) and Kia’s Bongo EV (43.85 million won).

Industry observers attribute the T4K’s lackluster sales performance to its premium pricing. From April 2022 to March 2023, the Porter Electric and Bongo EV recorded dominant sales of 21,095 and 9,461 units, respectively, dwarfing the T4K’s sales volume.

While the T4K boasts a longer driving range of 246 kilometers on a full charge, compared to 211 kilometers for the Porter Electric and Bongo EV, other specifications such as motor output are largely comparable. The Korean models utilize nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) batteries.

The T4K’s price competitiveness has further diminished this year due to reduced subsidies for LFP battery electric vehicles. In Seoul, the subsidy for the T4K has decreased from 16 million won in 2023 to 6.3 million won in 2024.

Although subsidies for the Porter Electric and Bongo EV also declined from 16 million won to 14.31 million won, the reduction is less severe than that for the T4K.

To counter the subsidy cuts, GS Global has devised a strategy to offer discounts of around 10 million won on the T4K. This discount offsets the difference in subsidies received by the T4K compared to its Korean competitors, further supplemented by an additional 1 million won discount and a 1 million won electric vehicle charging coupon.

“We have prepared exceptional measures to alleviate the financial burden on customers,” stated a GS Global representative.

Kevin Lee (

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