Browse over 9,000 car reviews

BYD's sub-sub brand? Entire family of new electric SUVs and sedans on the way based on 2024 Sea Lion and Seal

BYD's line-up looks to dramatically swell in the coming years, as it expands individual nameplates with separate models.

BYD's breakneck expansion is making things complicated for its puzzling naming conventions, with the brand saying the Sea Lion mid-size SUV and Seal sedan will each spawn entire model lines.

The Sea Lion, which was revealed at the Guangzhou Auto Show as a coupe-styled mid-sizer sitting above the Atto 3 in the brand’s international line-up, will in fact be split into three separate cars, as reported by CarNewsChina.

The Sea Lion 07 - the model shown at Guangzhou - will launch in the first half of 2024, but will be joined shortly by a Sea Lion 05 and Sea Lion 06, according to the general manager of BYD’s Ocean series Zhang Zhou. 

Zhou also reportedly said the Tesla Model 3-rivalling Seal, which will arrive in customer hands in Australia imminently, will also spawn its own model line of sedans.

For those out of the loop, BYD splits its full line-up into two main series in its home market of China.  The Dolphin and Seagull hatchbacks, Seal sedan, and Sea Lion SUV all belong to the ‘Ocean Series’ while the Yuan/Yuan Plus small SUVs (sold in Australia as the Atto 3), Song and Tang mid-size SUVs, as well as the Qin and Han sedans all belong to the ‘Dynasty Series’.

To muddle things further, both model lines are available with electric or ‘DM-i’ plug-in hybrid drivetrains, with some model lines, like the Song mid-size SUV, already split into several derivatives.

To add to the confusion even further, the Song Plus EV is sold as the ‘Seal U’ in Europe, and to a degree, styling even overlaps between the Dynasty and Ocean ranges.

How long the Australian division can avoid this naming nightmare is yet to be seen. Thus far it has maintained a clean vision for its mainstream electric offerings, with the Dolphin, Atto 3, and Seal.

That news could come sooner rather than later, with BYD’s local importer confirming it’s aiming to launch its first plug-in hybrids in the form of the Song Plus mid-size SUV, and the much-hyped ute.

The Song Plus, touted to arrive in “Q2 at the latest” of 2024 is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motors for a combined 145kW. The brand also said it hadn’t decided on a name for it yet. The mid-sizer which previously wore dated styling cues was recently updated to wear the same design language as the Seal which BYD dubs the 'Ocean Face'.

It is unclear whether the Song Plus EV (again, dubbed the Seal U in Europe) with styling more familiar to the rest of the brand’s range is even available in right-hand drive, let alone when it might launch in Australia.

BYD has its work cut out for it importing enough vehicles to meet strong demand as it looks to shake up the mainstream hegemony of hybrid and electric nameplates in Australia. No doubt its importer is hoping for a replication of the meteoric success of the Atto 3 over the course of 2023.

According to VFACTs, the brand has gone from zero vehicles in 2022 to 9718 to the end of October 2023, outselling storied brands like Skoda, Renault, and Volvo. The race is on for the final months of the year to see if it will even outsell Honda, which it is within 1200 units of.