Dow Jones [via Easybourse.com] has a hot release that is sure to be burning up the wires: Daimler and Chinese EV firm BYD have signed a deal to develop an electric vehicle “specific to the requirements of the Chinese market.” The new EV will be sold under a new, jointly-run brand and will be developed at a new Chinese technology center to be built as part of the joint venture. According to the release, “the companies’ understanding also includes further discussions on additional business opportunities of mutual interests,” all of which raises some interesting questions. Like why Volkswagen was caught napping: the Wolfsburg boys reportedly signed a MOU with BYD last March, but somehow Daimler has beaten them to the punch… on the very same day that VW announced that it wants to be the electric-mobility market leader by 2018, no less. Another open question: why develop a EV for the Chinese market, when that market’s tolerance for EV premiums appears to be fairly low? After all, with Daimler providing the car expertise, BYD might have a chance at the US and European markets where EV demand is actually proven. Also, how screwed is Tesla at this point? Though these questions remain very much unanswered, BYD is certainly making progress towards becoming a major car biz player, despite the many criticisms that have been leveled against it.
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