By on January 11, 2011

It’s the fourth time that China’s BYD shows up at NAIAS.  Every time, they announced an impending arrival at American shores. Which did not happen. Now BYD – cross my heart and hope to stay alive – BYD promises that they will really, honestly enter the U.S. en mass in spring of 2012, Reuters reports. Well, about time, because the luster is coming off BYD.

BYD brought a whole department store of stuff to NAIAS. The e6 and S6DM cars are accompanied by solar panels and home energy storage units.

BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu said they don’t know in which U.S. cities and states they will set up dealerships. For a 2012 spring launch, he needs to slowly make up his mind. He thinks he will introduce the pure plug-in e6 first, followed by the S6DM hybrid, and possibly electric buses.

When BYD finally gets around to selling something here, they will have to duke it out with a phalanx of other makers: Nissan and Tesla already have electric product, in 2012, they will be joined by Toyota, Honda, and Ford.

BYD thinks their e6 will cost $42,000 when it is finally available. That’s a lot of money for a Chinese car that has to share a narrow market with a lot of big players.

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17 Comments on “BYD Is Coming To America – Honestly Now...”

  • avatar

    Like I said, look how popular Chinese cars are in Russia. I got an issue of “Za Rulem” as a souvenir a mounth ago, they ran a comparo of: 1. UAZ Patriot, 2. Chevrolet Niva, 3. Great Wall Hover H3. RAV4 need not apply, apparently. Of course it’s the dirty autojournalism with which we are all too familar at TTAC, but people buy that. Although interestingly enough, BYD was not mentioned anywhere in the issue, only Chery, Lifan, Geely. Also, the issue had the “best of 2010” line-up, where no Chinese cars made top honours. But Chinese clearly aim to own budget econobox segment.

    • 0 avatar

      A few corrections due:
      Those Chinese cars on the Russian market are only relevant there due to… shall I say… peculiarities of the local market – huge unmet demand for any lower priced vehicles, generally low expectations of and disregard to safety, quality and durability, as well as punitive taxes, rampant crime – proper Western/Japanese cars may get stolen in a wink, some insurance companies refuse to cover theft for Land-Cruisers, BMW Xs, F-Wagens, etc.) 
      They would struggle there just as they do in Europe – were it not for corrupt certification system and the above factors.

      And lastly, those Chinese cars will never show up in EU or USA, friends in China say that they are mostly products of semi-backyard industries and are made for the local market, without any regard to internationally acceptable standards.

    • 0 avatar

      Having all these bogus safety standards was kinda my point here. How comes my 96 Neon did 40 mpg with an ancient Chrysler 2.0L, but when Hyundai Veloster accomplishes the same now, it’s a major achievement.

    • 0 avatar

      I have little regard for these crash tests too.
      But having seen some real-life pics… And really, I did not mean to be insulting…
      In a time of any accident, a Neon would be the last vehicle I would want to be in. Not counting a Lada or the aforementioned Chinese craft.

  • avatar

    Does that BYD come complete with lead tainted seats, recycled garbage dash material that if breathed in will kill you and manual child labor?

  • avatar

    Gotta hand it to BYD for being consistent.  Every year they tell us that they plan to invade the U.S. market in just over a year.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    People laughed at the Koreans once upon a time too.  Although honestly I won’t believe any of these vehicles until I see them and then I won’t dream of driving or riding in one till I see the numbers from the North American crash tests.

    • 0 avatar

      Koreans only duplicated the efforts of and filled the space vacated by the Japanese as they moved up through the market perception. 

      I honestly do not see how same dramatic progress could happen with the Chinese, unless they employ Western management, design and engineering companies.
      The culture and mentality is too different from the previous two challengers.
      They could succeed where Mahindrance failed though – cheap small diesel trucks. Or mopeds/scooters. At least those were all originally pretty sound designs that they stole. :)   

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      I’ve got a 150cc Chinese scooter (2008 model) and I would certify that the original Honda design is very solid, simple, and robust.  And if the engine blows up I can get another for $500 bucks. (Another engine that is, another scooter like it would be around $1,000 bucks.)

    • 0 avatar

      Personally, I still laugh at the Koreans AND the domestics (although I never laughed at the Japanese), and there’s really no escaping that there will eventually be Chinese cars for sale to the indiscriminate Wal-Mart shoppers out there. But it took Hyundai over 25 years of progressive improvements to get where they are today. As long as there’s a single used 5 year-old ‘Accord’ for sale somewhere, I will be safe from whatever time-bomb the Chinese serve up.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    Acubra wrote: “I honestly do not see how same dramatic progress could happen with the Chinese, unless they employ Western management, design and engineering companies.”

    And that’s exactly what they’re doing.  That’s why in order to gain access to the Chinese market, Western automakers are required to have a Chinese industrial partner.  The Western companies are teaching the Chinese how to compete with us.  The same thing is happening in aerospace. Meanwhile, the Chinese continue to steal designs and technology.  Witness the latest industrial espionage story surrounding Renault.


  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Sixty years ago, the Japanese were doing joint ventures with foreign companies and learning from them. 

    Nissans (Datsuns) were license made Austins (UK). 

    Hinos were license made Renaults. 

    Isuzus were license made Hillmans (Rootes Group, UK). 

    The Toyota Land Cruiser engine was a virtual (unlicensed) copy of the Chevrolet stove-bolt six. 

    Within twenty years, the Japanese had started designing their own cars.  Within twenty more years, they were world-class competitors. 

    The South Koreans began building licensed cars from foreign designs 40 years ago.

    Hyundai built Ford Cortinas (and later, Hyundai designs).

    The predecessor company to GM Daewoo built Opels and Hondas. 

    Kia built Mazdas and Kaiser Jeep military trucks including the troublesome OHC six designed in the early 1960’s by Sammy Sampientro for Kaiser. 

    Ssangyong’s predecessor company built Mercedes clones on license (and still uses their engine tech). 

    Within ten years, the South Koreans were designing (and exporting) some of their own cars.  Within ten years more, they were competitive if not yet first class. 

    The Chinese will cut this time in half again.  I predict.  Or not.  (My cousin, who is somewhat older than I, has actual experience working with the Taiwanese Chinese – the company at which he worked 20 years ago set up the Taiwanese with an auto glass factory and he says they simply were “unable” to learn simple production quality tasks). 

    Actually, now that I think about it and consider the horrible quality of almost everything Chinese (most especially Red Chinese not so much Taiwanese), I suspect that the Chinese automotive “take over” will more resemble Russia’s efforts to export Ladas. 

    I am going to say my prediction of Chinese success is rescinded and my cousin’s realization of Chinese “quality” will make it nothing more than a massive money losing proposition for any dealer which decides to try to sell any Red Chinese vehicle in this country.  As has proven to be the case in Western Europe. 

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