China’s BYD Auto seeks 2012 US launch


Detroit (US) : Chinese carmaker BYD Auto has set a new target of selling hybrid and electric cars to the US public in early 2012, but stressed that it would not make the mistake of rushing to break into the world’s most competitive market.

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BYD, a top battery manufacturer that shifted into producing hybrid-electric cars in 2005, had first targeted sales of its F3DM plug-in hybrid in the US as early as last year.

Chairman Wang Chuan-fu told reporters Monday at the Detroit auto show that the new
target for the F3DM and an all-electric E6 was early next year.

BYD last month launched a small test fleet of the F3DMs in a deal with Los Angeles city authorities. Michael Austin, vice president of BYD America Corp, said the company was more concerned about ensuring its quality than meeting timelines for a wider public launch.

“We’re in no rush to launch bad vehicles in the US market,” said Michael Austin, vice president of BYD America Corp. “We want to get it right.”

Austin said BYD remained primarily focused on its home market in China, where demand for cars outstripped the US last year for the first time in history. Part of the reason for selling in the US – even at a small level – would be to help the brand in China.

“If you make it in the US, you make it anywhere,” Austin told reporters. “I think we definitely will sell more vehicles in China if the US brand is strong.”