By on April 7, 2010

Nearly everything ever written about BYD in the Western press has focused on the Chinese automaker’s hybrid or electric drivetrains, or the firms and investors who have bought into their future promise. It’s an understandable state of affairs: after all, the firm started life as a cell phone battery maker, providing OEM cells for firms like Nokia. Meanwhile, BYD sold nearly a half-million cars in China last year, all gas powered, doubling both sales and profit over 2008 levels. And with plans for a pure EV now on hold, BYD is going back to basics, readying a range of new, allegedly more upscale, gas-powered cars for the Beijing Auto Show later this month.

Not that BYD has completely abandoned its ambitions for alt-drivetrain technology: it will still be showing its F3DM and F6DM hybrids, as well as the now-test-fleet-only E6 EV. But these auto show stalwarts will be joined by five new models, including two compact sedans and three new vehicles based (apparently) a new full-sized platform.

One hopes that the G6 sedan might be more originally styled than its Pontiac-derivative name suggests, while the M6 MPV is clearly a Toyota Previa to the E6’s Honda Odyssey. The final piece of BYD’s upscale, gas-only line is the S6 SUV [pictured above], which Chinacartimes recently caught on camera. Though it all looks a bit crude by US standards, at least BYD is easing off the EV/Hybrid hype to concentrate on gas powered routes to world dominance. After all, nearly all of BYD’s sales come from the rapidly aging F3 sedan, which is said to compete almost solely on price point (nearly all of BYD’s vehicles sell for about $10k or less). Another clue that BYD is starting to get pragmatic about what it takes to take on the global players comes from the Global Times, which reports that BYD has inked a deal to buy metal-dies factory belonging to Japan’s Ogihara Corp. Maybe spending time cuddling up to VW and Daimler has done BYD some good.

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2 Comments on “BYD Feels Gassy...”

  • avatar

    Here’s a suggestion for the Chinese automakers on a possible angle into the US market, other than by providing us with dirt cheap knock-offs: Make them significant, dirt cheap knock offs.

    In other words, we can no longer buy Toyota Previa’s here. We’re stuck with the Sienna. So clone the old mid-engine Previa, and offer it here. Or how about the “real” CR-X? Go get a circa 88 CRX-si, possibly an HF model to boot, knock it off, sell it here in the US of A.

    Other suggestions? I’d like to see a knock off 63 Stingray. And an E-type too. That would be great. And just for laughs, give us our Bandit car back. I’d also like to see a 1st gen GTI, with the red and blue striped seats that reminded me of United Airlines every time I sat in one. Make it legit. That means a VDO clock in the center that ticks loud enough the rear passengers can hear it, and a hand crank sunroof.

    A Chinese Starsky and Hutch Torino “Powered by ‘PHord\'” would be slick as well. And how about an Aston Martin DB12 with the roof that will sling any unruly passengers right the hell out of the car? That would be neat.

    I could go on and on….and as I try to fall asleep this evening, I’m sure I will. There are thousands upon thousands of old cars I’d like to see the Chinese re-introduce to the US. The best part? We’ll use their money to buy their cars that are knock offs of ours (and a few other automobile producing countries).

    Ok, one more: I’d like to see a really, really good Porsche 911, say late 80’s, Turbo look…But I want it to be really cheap (of course), yet so good of a copy (a la fake Rolex) that only some really schooled Porsche geek would ever know I’m a poseur, and even his or her own doubt would be so strong, they’d hesitate to rat me out to the other Porsche collectors at the shows.

    Anyone else?

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