China dreams of assault on US market
Chinese car maker BYD, part-owned by Warren Buffett, is launching an audacious assault on the market in the United States.
The company, whose motto is "build your dreams", will use next week's North American International Auto Show in Detroit -- widely considered to be the most important on the world motor-show circuit -- to unveil plans to bring its e6 vehicle to America.
Paul Lin, BYD's marketing manager, said that the company was planning to build an extensive after-sales network to win over American buyers who may be sceptical about buying a Chinese car.
Mr Lin said: "Because it is a 'new energy' vehicle, it is completely different from other cars already on the roads. Drivers will not be able to go to any body shop for repairs. So having a good after-sales network is key."
The e6, a "crossover" seating five adults, will sell for "less than $50,000 (€35,000)", placing it at the very top of the price range for mid-sized crossover vehicles.
BYD said that the availability this year of generous US government tax credits, worth up to $7,500 (€5,200) to buyers of electric cars, had helped to convince it that now was the right time to make its move into the US.
Mr Lin said: "This will be our third time at the show in Detroit. We think that now is the right time to make our strategy and our plans clear."
The e6 is larger than most of the pure electric cars coming to the market.
It has a range of 200 miles on a single charge and has a top speed of 87mph. It takes 15 to 20 minutes to charge the car to 50pc capacity at a high-voltage quick-charge station. Alternatively, the car can be slow-charged overnight using an ordinary household electricity outlet.
The company also plans to introduce its F3DM and F6DM hybrid cars to the US this year.