The Grey Lady Tests A BYD. CCT Gets Link Love

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
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the grey lady tests a byd cct gets link love

Yesterday night, I skyped with Ash Sutcliffe of Chinacartimes, and he kvetched that TTAC doesn’t give him enough “link love”. I pride myself in the knowledge of esoteric ways of showing affection, but link love? Would it have something to do with chains? Finally, it dawned on me that I make link love to Ash by topping his URL with TTAC’s high traffic words. And there is no better moment than this. Ash found the first real review of a real BYD plug in hybrid, performed by a real, card-carrying member of the press. My link love goes out to you for this, Ash!

The New York Times could no longer live with the shame of having been scooped by a Los Angeles Public Housing Inspector who made a review of a BYD F3DM one of his projects. The Grey Lady dispatched their very own Brad Berman up into the hills of Glendale, that beauteous suburb of LA, where Berman picked up his test ride at no frills Cars 911, “a used car dealership in this Los Angeles suburb where BYD Autos has set up temporary North American operations.”

The NYT notices “the wobbly storage compartment between the front seats, subpar floor mats, squishy handling,” and decides that “the build quality and materials seem perfectly adequate for utility-oriented Americans.” You wait until EVO gets its hands on that thing.

Forget the build quality. The NYT thinks that this could be the Volt for the people of Wal-Mart:

“To focus on the F3DM’s inconspicuous sheet metal and boring driving experience is to miss the audacity of BYD’s strategy. Think of the F3DM as a Chevrolet Volt with a Wal-Mart price tag, a car with a large-capacity battery — that delivered 31 miles of uninterrupted pure-electric driving for me — as well as a gasoline engine that gives it the ability to go an additional 300 miles.”

“General Motors, however, loaded up the Volt with a powerful electric motor, an iPod-like console and a luxury feel that help to justify a $41,000 price tag (before state and federal tax incentives). The F3DM — which does have an auxiliary audio input jack and a parking sensor — is expected to sell for less than $29,000. Incentives could drop the price closer to $20,000.“

Price and volume a closely related. If the NYT is right, then Obama’s blue sky goal of getting a million EVs on the road by 2015 may be attainable. By China.

Read the whole review here, it’s worth it. Equal link love for New York and China Car Times.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Feb 19, 2011

    Quote from the article: It was once thought impossible that Japanese and Korean cars would ride alongside Fords, Chevys and Dodges on American roadways. After my day with the impressive, though imperfect, F3DM, I see that Chinese cars—electric and affordable — are not only possible, but imminent. Exactly right. If the ownership experience is inexpensive and reliable, it will be a hit, even for an unrefined car. Think Hyundai 1990. The problem is the price of entry. A Hyundai Elantra at 29 mpg will cost $2500 more to operate over 5 years, so you might break even on the BYD's subsidized price in comparison. But there will be no comparison in quality or joy for those 5 years. But this is how a new entry gets a foothold in the market. Dealer experience will be the key - Americans have had their fill of bad ones (from every carmaker). If BYD can distinguish themselves in this area, the vehicle's imperfections might be overlooked.

  • Steven02 Steven02 on Feb 21, 2011

    If they are right, then it would make more sense to bring over the non battery versions of BYD cars and sell them here. The walmart crowd would be all over 15k loaded BYD cars.

  • Marky S. I own the same C.C. XSE Hybrid AWD as in this article, but in Barcelona Red with the black roof. I love my car for its size, packaging, and the fact that it offers both AWD and Hybrid technology together. Visibility is impressive, as is its small turning circle. I consider the C.C. more of a "station wagon" by proportion, rather than an “SUV.” It is fun to drive, with zippy response and perky pick-up. It is a pleasant car to drive and ride in. It is not trying to be a “Butch Off-Roader”, or a cosseting “Luxury Cruiser.” Those are not its goals or purpose. The Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD is a wonderful All-Purpose Car (O.K. – “SUV” if you must hear me say it!) with a combination of all the features it has at a reasonable price.
  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
  • Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
  • FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.