• Jan 13th 2011 at 6:28PM
  • 27
BYD E6 at 2011 Detroit Motor Show – Click above for high-res image gallery

China automaker BYD is in no hurry to launch in the States, and it shows in its plan.

BYD has been displaying cars at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit for three years now, and it originally planned to launch an electric car by the end of 2012 to consumers. Now that's looking like 2013, according to Mike Austin, vice president of BYD's U.S. division.

In the meantime, BYD is testing some cars in a fleet with the Housing Authority of Los Angeles.

The plan is for the company to find at least five dealers who are willing to not only sell a BYD e6 electric and a plug-in hybrid, called the f3DM, but also BYD LED lights, solar panels and other products related to "green" living. "We aren't pursuing the typical sales and distribution model," says Austin.

BYD has gained notoriety for its rapid rise in China and for the investment in the company made by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, which owns 10 percent of the company best known for lithium-ion batteries for mobile phones and other consumer electronics.

Last year, BYD sold 520,000 vehicles in China – impressive but well short of its stated goal of 800,000 units.

Austin says the company has not selected dealers yet, but acknowledged that the business model for selling BYD's other products will not appeal to some dealers. "That's okay, because we are doing something unique here. We are in not in a hurry to launch in the U.S.," says Austin, who noted the growth in the Chinese market that BYD is trying to manage.

The five dealers BYD is looking for at launch is the start of a network planned to grow to 20, and according to Austin, not all of the dealerships at launch will be in California.


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Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 AOL



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Garbage
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ford cars are garbage, in China they are garbage.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How many automakers are there gonna be in the US auto industry? 25? With Geely and BYD hot on the heels of Hyundai and Kia. Man, this is gonna get ugLY with a capital U.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Don't forget Chrysler is now a subsidiary of Fiat.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That big battery would generate such a strong electro-magnetic wave that the operator of the vehicle would surely get cancer from it after no more than 10 years.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dont worry gua, you need a brain first for it to get fried, so you are pretty safe to keep typing!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Neato. The best electric car in the world.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Battery powered rickshaws. How ingenious.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This post is going to bring all of our favourite crazies out of the woodwork, naturally--but as someone who's actually been to China recently, I can tell you there are literally hundreds of thousands of BYDs (and other Chinese-made cars) humming around urban areas as daily drivers, and the roadside is not littered with broken-down wrecks.

        Dismissing out-of-hand the possibility that you will be competing with these companies in the near future--and not preparing for that contingency--is doing the US no favours.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Saw these things at the NAIAS. NOT impressed. I thought they were retrofitting old 80's/90's cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      @gua: stop it, please
      • 4 Years Ago
      Might seem a little strange sure...
      But what are you going to do?
      Bash the Chinese for innovating in a retail free-market?
      • 4 Years Ago
      @ Mr.Roadrage

      Yes we should be learning from history about how the Japanese and the Koreans were downplayed and ended up whiping the floor with the competition. But you need to remember that those companies were actually selling their own products and the products that existied/still exist during their glory years are actually of excellent quality.

      Chinese cars are all knockoffs and really cheap ones at that. The build quality is always terrible. And if you want to talk about History, lookup the videos of the IIHS doing some crash tests of various Chinese vehicles. Fatal frontal crashes at 30 mph because the whole front end crushed the inside of the cabin is not what I call safe. American market vehicles were safer 20 years ago than what chinese cars are right now. There's no way these vehicles would pass any safety regulations we have in place.

      And before you say anything about how other asian manufacturers that actually operate here have vehicles that pass our regulations you need to remember one thing: Their home countries have safety regulations of similar severity, it doesn't take too much work to adapt a vehicle from their market to match our own safety regulations. China, however, barely has any consideration for motorist safety in comparison.

      Unless a complete revolution occurs in china improving their regulations, originality, workmanship and business ethics, I strongly doubt their vehicles are going to come to the north american market with any measure of success, if at all, within the next twenty years.

      The markets are total opposites.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually, you need to remember that the Japanese started the same way. Nissan, for example made cheap knockoffs of Austins before designing their own cars, the first of which were pretty lousy. Hyundai started with Ford Cortinas built on license, then did the Pony, which used a Mitsubishi drivetrain.

        As for China, if you had visited there 25, or even 15 years ago, you would see that it now has changed beyond recognition. What will it be like in another 10 years? Like I said, learn from history.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Americans are knock offs. They claim they invented everything, yet they steal from all over the world. They stole the concept of 0 from India, without which no computer is possible and I would wager no car is possible.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Uh, why is the L.A. Housing Authority (Taxpayers) dealing with a Chinese company? If one dime of L.A. taxpayer money is being spent on these cars I have a problem with it.

      Why?

      Copyright infringement, Human Rights violations, Slave labor, the Chinese military owns a piece of EVERY important company in China, theft of intellectual property.......
      • 4 Years Ago
      Keep 'em.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I dunno... to me and most people I spoke to, that was the most, um, entertaining press conference of the entire auto show.

      We can set aside the dubious charge times (40 minutes? really?) for their electric cars, the Lexus RX and Toyota Corolla knockoffs they have on their show floor, and the sloppily handmade corporate logos on the walls. (And kudos, David, for calling Micheal Austin "Mike" rather than wondering if his name was actually misspelled on their own presentation slides — it wasn't: it's Micheal with an "ea.")

      The impending apocalypse video (in glorious low-res) and "results" speech from the CEO of the LA Housing Authority ("Well, they delivered the cars three weeks ago and they all work."), not to mention Austin's claim that "We said we'd be here in five to 10 years and we're standing by that" (even though they've promised being here by "the end of the year" for three years running) just makes me not trust them. The whole press conference bore the aroma of snake oil.

      Do I hope this technology is real? Of course...it would change the world. Will it? Wait and see, I guess. But in the meantime, I'll enjoy the free BYD LED light bulb they handed out. Unless I find a hidden microphone in it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Gua keeps putting his foot in his mouth.
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