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Makes way for the BYDs: Cars from China to hit U.S. showrooms in 2015

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 12th, 2014
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The manufacturing powerhouse that is modern China has yet to make inroads into the automotive industry. That may soon change, The BYD car, manufactured in China, are set to hit U.S. showrooms at the end of 2015.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - BYD says they plan to introduce about four models for its U.S. debut. Though BYD wasn't ready when it earlier sought to enter the U.S. car market in 2010, the company is more prepared this time, Stella Li, the senior vice president in charge of the company's U.S. business said in an interview.

The Chinese are seeking to make impact upon the U.S. car market as the Japanese and South Koreans did decades earlier. Geely and Chery Automobile Co. have made such predictions as far back as 2005, though they've yet to sell their first car in America.

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"Entering the U.S. market carries more symbolic meaning to brand building than actually boosting its bottom line," Han Weiqi, an analyst with CSC International Holdings Ltd. in Shanghai said. "They really need to make sure cars they deliver there have sound quality in order to avoid adverse impact."

It must be noted that BYD has previously planned far planning bigger than what they can actually deliver, Han says.

Billionaire BYD founder and Chairman Wang Chuanfu completed a three-year reorganization last year, during which he cut the number of dealerships and narrowed losses at its solar business thanks to state incentives. Investors have been receptive to BYD's turnaround. Focusing on electric cars, BYD saw its shares surge 63 percent to HK $38 in Hong Kong trading last year.

BYD is already in the U.S. vehicle market as it sells electric buses to fleet operators, instead of cars to consumers. The company is preparing to begin U.S. production of electric buses in March at its factory in Lancaster, California.

 "Back then, we had passion, but we had no brand, no history, no capital and no competitive advantage," Li says. "BYD has become more fashionable and we have improved our design and safety. We don't want to compete on price anymore, but on quality and innovation."

It must be noted that BYD isn't the only Chinese automaker pursuing the American consumer. Geely, whose parent owns Volvo Cars, plans to export cars developed with the Swedish brand to the U.S. in 2016.

BYD plans to open a factory in Sao Paolo, Brazil during the soccer World Cup that starts in June to assemble its K9 electric buses, Li said.

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