Grumpy GWM accuses BYD of test trickery

Great Wall Motors has accused rival BYD of deliberate breaches of national emission standards. In response, BYD threatened legal action.

Photo by Fan Jianlei

Photo by Fan Jianlei

By CHEN Xiaotong


Great Wall Motors has accused rival BYD of deliberately emitting pollutants in violation of emission standards. GWM issued a statement on Thursday saying that BYD's Qin and Song hybrids used atmospheric pressure fuel tanks and emitted pollutants directly violating the law.

In response, BYD has threatened legal action.

According to BYD, the vehicles were purchased, stored, and sent for testing by GWM themselves in Tianjin. The test did not meet the sampling, storage and inspection requirements specified by the standards.

In official tests, vehicles are sampled, stored and inspected by a third party. Tests are conducted after a 3000-kilometer running-in period. The mileage of the vehicles submitted by GWM was between 450 and 670 kilometers.

GWM is famously litigious and has previously named Geely, Changan, and other automakers in relation to issues like "black PR," but this is the first time they have reported a competitor’s product.

Sour grapes

The fuel tanks in hybrid vehicles are under high pressure during electric operations, which places high demands on the fuel tank. The internal pressure of a hybrid vehicle's fuel tank is four to six times that of a traditional gasoline vehicle.

In terms of EVs, GWM has been reeled in and overtaken by BYD. In 2019, GWM sold 1.06 million vehicles, second among domestic brands behind Geely. BYD's sales were less than half that. But in 2022, BYD stopped making gasoline vehicles and sales for the year soared to 1.86 million cars, triple the previous year. Great Wall Motors' annual sales were still stuck around 1 million cars.

In the first four months of this year, GWM sold 313,100 vehicles, down 7.2 percent compared to the same period last year, and only 42,700 were EVs. In contrast, BYD doubled sales to three quarter of a million.