Tuesday, January 12, 2010

EVs mass market: BYD Showcases Electric Car for U.S. TNR.v, CZX.v, WLC.v, LI.v, RM.v, LMR.v, CLQ.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, BYDDY, NSANY, HEV, AONE, RNO, DAI,

Chinese BYD will be the most famous example. We will note Tata Motors as well in this upcoming sector - problem here will be whether they will be able to overcome auto brand recognition and safety perceptions. Both companies are definitely well positioned in their respective markets, but conquering the West could be difficult and lead to the question whether they are going to make money or struggle fighting for the market share. This question will shadow all auto makers sector.

BYD Auto Co. showcased an all-electric car Monday that the Chinese company intends to sell in the U.S. by the second half of the year, joining a raft of new entrants seeking to grab a piece of the emerging market for emissions-free vehicles.
The details, however, remain unclear. In an interview, BYD Chairman Wang Chuan-fu said the auto maker was still studying the market to determine how many e6 electric cars could be imported and sold in the U.S., at what price and through what kind of distribution network.
Fred Ni of BYD shows off the new BYD e6 all-electric vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

"It's very hard for us to estimate," Mr. Wang said. "There are lot of things in the market that are pending, and there are lot of things that are unsure. In the beginning, we don't think it will be a huge quantity."
In China, where the e6 will first go on sale, BYD—which stands for Build Your Dreams—expects to sell vehicles for city use by the government, utility companies or fleets of taxis, according to Mr. Wang. BYD expects it could be used similarly in the U.S., while a later, plug-in hybrid vehicle may be more appropriate for individual American consumers.
Previously, Mr. Wang had said the company planned to pick a specific region within the U.S. and initially market "a few hundred" e6s, priced at slightly more than $40,000, through a small number of dealers. He wouldn't say on Monday if the pricing plans remained the same.
BYD's effort is backed by MidAmerican Energy Holding Co., the unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. that paid about $230 million for a 9.9% stake in BYD.
View Full Image Reuters
Chinese auto maker BYD's e6 all-electric vehicle sits next to a charging station Tuesday at the North American International Auto show in Detroit. The car may be available in the U.S. later this year.

Mr. Wang on Monday said "it is possible" that BYD may seek partners in the U.S. to help sell its car, but he said those options are still being studied. He said the cost of the battery used in BYD's electric vehicles remains too high but anticipates that U.S. consumers will seek out these cars as the economy improves and gasoline prices rise.
The e6 will be marketed as a five-passenger crossover-style vehicle that can travel more than 200 miles on a single charge.
Unlike some of its Chinese competitors, BYD doesn't plan to buy brands from global auto makers, Mr. Wang said. Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company Ltd., for example, is in the midst of buying Ford Motor Co.'s Sweden-based Volvo brand.
"For us, we have a focus on the fast growing Chinese market," he said, adding that BYD's 2009 sales of 450,000 in China was an increase of 160% over 2008 figures."
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