By on April 20, 2013

The Denza shows its stripes

So Denza, the odd couple joint venture between Daimler and BYD, lifted the veil of its upcoming all-electric SUV. A car in heavy camouflage rolled on stage here at the Shanghai Motor Show. The car looked, well, like the old B-Class from which it is derived.

As for the specs of the car, they remain largely foggy. Clarity is promised for the Guangzhou  Auto Show, which will be in November.  On a screen that was only readable by VIPs in the first row, it said that the battery will be “developed  for vehicle lifetime,”  that the range will be “well over  200km” (125 miles), and that the battery will disconnect from the drivetrain in case of emergency.

More and more say that is not true at all

Joint venture partner BYD in the meantime is betting on hybrid. At the show, BYD unveiled what Reuters calls a quote self-developed unquote    gasoline-electric car technology. Other carmakers, led by Toyota, are also suddenly betting big on hybrid. Toyota’s presentation today was given by the father of the Prius and designated Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada who promised a big hybrid push for and in China. The technology so far was a slow seller. Insiders expect that the Chinese government will extend bigger subsidies to buyers of hybrid cars, after the big electric car revolution in China turned out to be a bust.

Zetsche did not show

Of course, BYD would not confirm the Reuters story  that it might ditch gasoline-powered cars within two years to focus on mostly hybrid and a few EVs. I am told that BYD’s legal department contacted Reuters and demanded that the story is taken down. Reuters refused. Reuters reporter Norihiko Shirouzu says his sources are impeccable. Of course, the Reuters piece contained other uncouth material, such as one BYD exec saying that “The last three years have been tough, and painful at times. Everybody beat us up. A lot of long-term investors and friends of the company lost patience with us.”

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6 Comments on “Shanghai Auto Show: BYD And Daimler Show First Glimpse At Joint EV While BYD Gets Mad At Reuters...”

  • avatar

    Wow, those “VIP” chairs sure look uncomfortable for any real VIPs. No wonder Zetsche didn’t show :).


  • avatar

    “self-developed” – Does that mean they reverse-engineered a Prius all by themselves?

  • avatar

    It looks like BYD is pretty much flying solo, with minimal assistance from Daimler. I wonder what’s in it for Daimler? Did they grab the joint venture with BYD to keep someone else out, or are they just in a holding pattern until the Zetsche leadership issue is resolved?

    • 0 avatar

      Lorenzo: I wonder what’s in it for Daimler?

      Access to the Chinese auto market for Mercedes luxury cars.

      The trick is to be seen to be partnering with a local car company (the requirement for selling cars there) but then give them as little technology as possible.

      • 0 avatar

        carguy: Access to the Chinese auto market for Mercedes luxury cars.

        Daimler already has a JV with BAG for access, and BAG is a better access point, being state-owned. The reason Bertel called it an odd-couple JV is that BYD is a battery maker that got into cars by buying a car company. BYD doesn’t really bring anything to the table for Daimler, which is why I asked.

  • avatar

    Love the picture of the teleprompter.

    Just perfect.

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