BYD E6 at 2009 Detroit Auto Show

Chinese automakers have been making noise about entering the North American market for years, stretching back a decade or more. A combination of factors – from the disjointed nature of the Chinese auto industry to lingering quality issues – have kept that from happening, but the day when Chinese cars roam the Great American Road may finally be upon us.

Following aborted efforts by such automakers as Geely and Great Wall, it's BYD that appears to be leading the charge this time. The company backed by investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate is now targeting 2015 – just a year away from now – to start selling cars in the United States. It wouldn't be the first time BYD has talked about entering the US market, though. It previously targeted an American launch in 2010, only to end up missing that target. Following a three-year restructuring plan led by its billionaire chairman Wang Chuanfu, however, BYD is looking to be in better shape.

The company already has a presence in North America, selling electric buses, and is preparing to begin manufacturing them in California within the next few months. Whether it can use that foothold to springboard into cars we can buy and drive by next year (like the above-pictured E6 it displayed at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show), however, remains to be seen.
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