At the Shanghai Auto Show, which opens to the public on April 21, and to tens of thousands of alleged members of the media the day before, the child of one of the auto industry’s oddest couples will be shown – at least in prototype form. It is the Denza EV, the product of a mésalliance between the world’s oldest and proudest automaker, Daimler, and a company that entered the annals of contemporary automotive history as the most brazen rip-off artist.
Of course we are talking of BYD, the Shenzhen, China, based maker of half the world’s cellphone batteries and a dwindling number of cars. A while ago, I visited an intrepid team of German engineers, shacked up at BYD, to jointly develop an electric car. They were friendly, hospitable, and as forthcoming as possible under the strange circumstances. For months, I could not bring it over me to put my fellow countrymen and expats in the dim light this story would project. Their job is tough enough. But in the interest of timeliness and journalistic duty, here it goes.
A fiery red car, seen in Beijing. An aggressive bumper sticker, showing the owner is very angry with Japan. Or, judging from the sticker, maybe it’s hot love? It’s all about those islands, which happen to sit on top of oil, and straight in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. What is this motherland-loving man driving? (Read More…)
BYD had made lots of announcements of exporting cars to the free world, but none of them have panned out so far. Remember BYD’s plans to take over America? Now finally we have what Reuters calls BYD’s “first overseas deal.” BYD will ship 50 e6 electric taxis to London in the second quarter of 2013.
Chinese upstart carmaker BYD isn’t as lucky as it used to be. Its sales and stock price are deep in the Chinese squat toilet. However, it is outdoing itself in the gadget dept. BYD, the company that brought us the remote controlled car, now brings us the watch that opens your car’s doors and starts it. Call it keyless entry that goes with the times. (Read More…)
BYD’s F3 received worldwide acclaim for being a Corolla ripoff. When the new F3 was announced at the Beijing Auto Show, Carnewschina wrote: “The new F3 is design-wise slightly better than the old BYD F3 which was a copy of the old Toyota Corolla, the new F3 is a copy of the new Corolla but slightly less obvious. For BYD, we call that a huge improvement!” Come on, Carnewschina, the new BYD F3 has something the Corolla does not have: A remote control. Not a remote control for doors. You can drive the car remotely like a toy. (Read More…)
U.S. Senators long have warned of an exodus of American know-how to China. Last year, Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin complained to United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk about another attempt by China ”to illegally gain an unfair advantage over the U.S. automobile industry that will cost our country jobs. The United States must respond strongly to stand up for American businesses and working families.”
A year later, the exodus is in full swing, and it starts to hurt. This time, it pains automakers to see how Chinese companies are getting their hands on taxpayer-funded secrets. (Read More…)
The previous BYD F3 was known as a more than blatant copy of the Toyota Corolla. Many buyers pay a small extra fee to have (fake) Toyota badges affixed, making the F3 nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. The next generation BYD F3 wants to be known for groundbreaking innovation: The car will be remote controlled. (Read More…)
Pictures of a burning BYD e6 sent the already beaten down BYD stock on a nose-dive yesterday. The e6 is one of the rare BYD electric cars, used in a taxi test in the Chinese city of Shenzhen. A Nissan GT-R had crashed into two taxis, one a conventional Santana, the other an electric e6. The e6 immediately did burst into flames. Two female passengers and the driver were killed. (Read More…)
Daimler’s R&D chief Thomas Weber told Germany’s Wirtschaftswoche a big secret: Daimler will show an electric car at the Beijing auto show that opens in the last week of April. Of course, TTAC readers already knew the secret. But it is always nice to have independent verification. (Read More…)
Real Chinese brands are losing market share to joint ventures. The Chinese government wants to keep up appearances, and strongly suggests to joint ventures with foreigners that they should start a separate “Chinese” brand. Latest to say “hao” (yes, ok, jawohl) is Daimler. Its joint venture with BYD to make electric cars in China will dispense with making electric Mercedes first and will instead immediately head to second base and launch a Chinese brand. (Read More…)
Everybody in the business knows that the BYD S6 SUV is a blatant copy of the last generation Lexus RX350 SUV. The rip-off is so blatant that BYD even registered a European patent for their carbon copy. If you don’t look close enough, pretty much the only parts that differ are the grille and some BYD badges. Mei wen ti! No problem! (Read More…)
If you’ve followed TTAC for the last several, you’ve been able to watch the meteoric rise of Build Your Dreams from humble upstart to Buffett-backed behemoth. Two years ago, BYD seemed poised to launch an unstoppable onslaught of cheap Chinese electric cars that seemed like an attractive proposition at a time when gas price angst was everywhere. Today, however, things have changed considerably. Bloomberg reports that BYD has opened its US headquarters in Los Angeles, a year behind schedule, and with fewer jobs than initially promised. And no wonder: for all intents and purposes, BYD has practically abandoned its charge to leverage its cell phone battery know-how into electric car dominance. According to Bloomberg, BYD
“has delayed plans to sell electric cars to retail buyers, citing limited availability of public chargers. Instead, it’s focusing on solar panels, batteries, LED lighting and rechargeable buses.” (Read More…)
Employees of Saab will soon collect unemployment benefits from the Swedish government instead from Victor Muller. They can find solace in the fact that they are not alone. It looks like former media darling and wunderkind BYD is hitting the skids.
Except here, people are not kept around for months doing nothing . They are fired. This is China, not socialist Sweden. According to Chinacartimes, BYD announced that it will cut up to 1,800 members of staff, including underemployed 1,000 members of its sales team. (Read More…)