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Stewart’s to sell BYD Chinese EV

Stewart’s Automotive Group is adding a Chinese electric vehicle, called BYD, to its line-up, which it will distribute on behalf of Flash Motors, a new regional start-up that is partially owned by Wigton Windfarms Limited.

“Flash Motors and Stewart’s are two different entities. Flash will import the BYD vehicles and deal with the financing,” said Stewart’s Automotive director Jacqueline Stewart Lechler.

“Our work is with Flash only in Jamaica. We have local rights to distribute the vehicles, sell them, and service them in Jamaica,” she said.

Flash Motors aims to sell EVs in Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and Guyana. The company is reportedly owned by two Canadians with Jamaican roots, Carey Escoffery and Xavier Gordon, and Wigton as a minority shareholder with a 21 per cent stake.

Still, Stewart Lechler said Stewart’s would consider investing in Flash if offered an opportunity. There Jamaican dealership, which already sells a Jaguar EV, is still in the process of setting up the BYD dealership at its main complex at South Camp Road, Kingston, which Stewart Lechler says will be ready “in a few months”.

BYD is described as the largest EV brand in the world and a maker of cars, buses, bikes, multipurpose vehicles or MPVs, and other light vehicles. Tesla makes more EV cars but does not have the diverse range of autos offered by BYD, said Stewart’s manager, James Lechler.

There are fewer than 300 EV and hybrid vehicles operating in Jamaica. The vehicles are more expensive than gas-fuelled autos, but the elimination of two-thirds of the import duty on such vehicles, from 30 per cent to 10 per cent, is expected to make them more affordable and, consequently, more attractive to car buyers.

Stewart’s is already offering two BYD electric vehicles, priced at $8.7 million and $12 million, after applying the duty concession. It costs $2,500 to fully charge each vehicle, said Lechler, adding that buyers would save $400,000 per year on gas.

Stewart’s Automotive is one of the largest car dealers in Jamaica, representing such brands as Mercedes Benz, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, and Honda bikes.

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