BYD Developing US Market Plans for $40K EV

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
byd developing us market plans for 40k ev

Chinese battery/auto firm BYD has been on a roll since Warren Buffett took a ten percent stake in it last year. BYD recently snagged a technology-sharing agreement with VW, and just agreed to supply SAIC with its batteries. In fact, in the nine months since Buffett invested in BYD his $230 million investment has increased its value by an estimated $1 billion. Which is a good enough return for Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway Co-Chairman Charlie Munger to call BYD CEO Wang Chuan-Fu “a combination of Thomas Edison and Jack Welch—something like Edison in solving technical problems, and something like Welch in getting done what he needs to do. I have never seen anything like it.”

That’s high praise indeed, considering BYD’s problems actually selling its plug-ins in China (not to mention the disturbingly vague safety concerns). But now, the WSJ reports that BYD is “finalizing” plans to bring its E6 all-electric MPV to a “limited market” in the United States (read: California). The rumored price? Over $40,000. Which suddenly makes the Volt look a lot better. And makes us eagerly await the day when we can run a $40K comparison between a glorified Cruze and a Chinese Minivan. Surreal much?

Join the conversation
4 of 15 comments
  • Lynn Ellsworth Lynn Ellsworth on Aug 22, 2009
    Buffet’s could try his hand at creating the next leading industry for the US. Buffet has done that, such as his investment in General Electric, and for many years he has made many investment in well run and innovative U.S. companies. Unfortunately now while we give welfare to GM and Chrysler the Chinese and Germans are supporting companies that are experimenting with solar energy and batteries.
  • AG AG on Aug 22, 2009

    "BTW, I have more faith in a car invested by Buffet than Obama." wsn, Buffet also invested in Obama by backing him for President.

  • Dilbert Dilbert on Aug 22, 2009

    Pete Moran: I think Buffet has made a huge contribution to the American economy, I'm no economist, but I'd say he's in the top 25 of all time, easy. To blast him for investments in China as somehow unpatriotic or unamerican is to overlook his long history of contributions he made to our country. A contribution that is orders of magnitudes more than what you, or I have contributed, economically.

  • PeteMoran PeteMoran on Aug 22, 2009

    @ dilbert To blast him for investments in China as somehow unpatriotic or unamerican is to overlook his long history of contributions he made to our country. I think you're misreading what I write. I wrote that he's free to invest where he likes. I've worked with many companies that have an "idea" that can't get funding. I've even worked with two that couldn't get seed funding in the first 5 years but were then speculated on heavily by Berkshire. I've worked with many wealthy people who invest at least 50% of the profits of a previous enterprise into the new idea. They keep modest (by US standards) amounts for themselves as the risk taker, but plow everything else into expanding the new or existing value-add/employing enterprise. I don't see that lately in Mr Buffet at a time when the USA (particular) needs that investment.