BYD auto’s coming to USA in 2015


Backed by Warren Buffet and his investment company Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., Chinese automaker BYD plans to deliver four models to the United States in late 2015.

This move comes after BYD founder and chair Wang Chauanfu spent the past three years reorganizing his company, cutting the number of dealerships under the automaker’s banner while narrowing losses with their solar business with help from state incentives.

In turn, investors rewarded the changes with a 63 percent surge in the share price — currently holding around $5 USD — though nowhere near the peak of $11 BYD saw in October 2008; Berkshire Hathaway paid around $1 per share for 9.9 percent ownership of the company back in that year.

Though BYD has yet to bring over any of their cars to the U.S., they will begin manufacturing of their K9 electric bus in March at its factory in Lancaster, Calif.; a plan to sell the e6 electric hatchback by the end of 2010 was postponed.

Leading the charge will be the Qin (pronounced Chin) plug-in hybrid, which already arrived in local market showrooms last month. The $31,400 (before state subsidies) sedan books it from nil to 60 in under 6 seconds, and possesses a 43-mile range in electric-only travel.

That said, the Qin, along with its electric brethren, may be a better sell in Los Angeles than in Beijing, as high prices, safety concerns, and a lack of supporting infrastructure have held back China’s goal of 5 million alternative-energy vehicles by 2020.

However, the state government unveiled a new program last September which is supposed to alleviate the issue through heavy promotion of new-energy vehicles in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou using subsidies through 2015, which should help BYD in local adoption of their plug-in and EV offerings.

BYD racing:

The Qin is powered by 1.5-liter Direct Injection Turbocharged engine with two 110 kW electric motors rated with a peak power 303 PS and 440 Nm of torque. The Chinese carmaker claims that it can accelerate from 0 to 60 km/h in 5.9 seconds with a top speed 185 km/h. It also has a 50km full electric range for ‘green points’ with its high-density 10 kWh lithium iron phosphate batteries.

BYD Announces Sales Launch of Qin Electric Hybrid in Latin America

Legend has it that a Chinese fleet arrived in North America in 1421, decades before the arrival of Columbus’s tiny three-ship expedition. Whether they did or not continues to be hotly debates, but what isn’t being debated is the current ‘invasion’ of the Americas by the descendants of Admiral Zheng.

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Yes, the Qin looks and performs impressively on the drag strip, but these proposed BYD imports to the US are models that have not yet seen volume production, even in China. Why would BYD want to make the U.S. its proving ground and possibly expose it to the critical eye of the sophisticated American carbuyer. Afterall it took Hyundai years to get over their ignorance of the fact that, first impressions are very important.