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BYD coming to America


keerthiprasad
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http://www.autoblog.com/2009/08/23/report-byd-pushes-american-ev-launch-ahead-to-2010/

 

It looks like BYD will start selling cars here in 2010!  It will be interesting to see if electric cars take hold and cause a true shift in the market.  Many competitive advantages could be created or diminished. 

 

Personally, I think electric autos will be of limited usefulness and largely relegated to urban areas (at least it appears so today).  Hydrogen fuel cells on the other hand seem a bit off, but much more promising.

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Guest kawikaho

Yeesh.  I have high hopes for this car company, but I resent the Chinese copycat business model and overall poor product quality.  I mean, check out this car:

 

http://www.byd.com/showroom.php?car=f8

 

It's a blatant rip off of a Mercedes!  haha.  God, they have NO shame.  And look at the really poor structural problems of Chinese cars:

 

 

You already know Chinese companies have been fraught with quality control issues: melamine in milk, lead in toys and paint, asbestos in exported dry wall, etc...  I have a bad feeling about these cars.  The next Yugo?  Hope they come up to speed.  I believe BYD was a large scale battery manufacturer that decided to get into automotive production.  Uhhhh... ok.

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Yeesh.  I have high hopes for this car company, but I resent the Chinese copycat business model and overall poor product quality.  I mean, check out this car:

 

http://www.byd.com/showroom.php?car=f8

 

It's a blatant rip off of a Mercedes!  haha.  God, they have NO shame.  And look at the really poor structural problems of Chinese cars:

 

 

You already know Chinese companies have been fraught with quality control issues: melamine in milk, lead in toys and paint, asbestos in exported dry wall, etc...  I have a bad feeling about these cars.  The next Yugo?  Hope they come up to speed.  I believe BYD was a large scale battery manufacturer that decided to get into automotive production.  Uhhhh... ok.

 

Soooo . . . you won't be buying one then?  That's not a BYD car in the video - it looks like a Russian test.

 

I also have high hopes for this company and expect that your tainted product fears won't come to pass because the company was founded and is run by a man of high integrity who has been praised and supported by two of the best judges of integrity - Munger and Buffett.

 

BYD was nothing in 1995 and became a large scale battery manufacturer supplying about 60% of the cellphone market's batteries over 10 years or so.

 

As Munger says "I wouldn't bet against 10,000 Chinese Engineers"

 

I understand the import bashing, but I don't see where any of your arguments apply to this company specifically. 

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This is maybe a good place to share my "efficientizing" proposal for auto manufacturing and sales.

Not likely suited for BYD who have plan already; perhaps more for some North American entrepreneur.

 

Two barriers to entry in auto manufacturing (auto sales, really) are dealership network and service network.

 

For dealership network, can recruit used car dealers, some of whom would be delighted to have a new-car option to offer purchasers.

 

For service network, can utilize independent repair shops, who are nowadays getting squeezed out by auto manufacturers placing barriers to service info availability, longer warranty periods, expensive custom parts etc.

 

The latter, as well as widespread layoffs in assembly and engineering talent, makes available a great opportunity for entrepreneurs.

 

To keep things simple, perhaps design a vehicle which:

- Utilizes standard aftermarket parts as much as possible.  Almost everything but the chassis is available via aftermarket.

- Has more than ample documentation of maintenance procedures.  Encourage widespread repair, customization, tinkering.

  Online chat rooms how-to-fix-it staffed by company experts, advising service people and do-it-yourselfers.

 

Think of how white-box personal computers have prospered.  And open source software making it easier to try new ideas.

 

Start with a custom assembly line type of operation, about 40 vehicles/day, ie 10,000/year capacity single shift.

Don't have to do much particularizing, maybe colour is the only meaningful option for target purchasers.

Easy to ramp up thruput and replicate operations based upon successful performance.

 

Strike deal with union.  New jobs.  Benefits paid to union-managed plans who handle the admin details.

 

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Guest kawikaho

Yeesh.  I have high hopes for this car company, but I resent the Chinese copycat business model and overall poor product quality.  I mean, check out this car:

 

http://www.byd.com/showroom.php?car=f8

 

It's a blatant rip off of a Mercedes!  haha.  God, they have NO shame.  And look at the really poor structural problems of Chinese cars:

 

 

You already know Chinese companies have been fraught with quality control issues: melamine in milk, lead in toys and paint, asbestos in exported dry wall, etc...  I have a bad feeling about these cars.  The next Yugo?  Hope they come up to speed.  I believe BYD was a large scale battery manufacturer that decided to get into automotive production.  Uhhhh... ok.

 

Soooo . . . you won't be buying one then?  That's not a BYD car in the video - it looks like a Russian test.

 

I understand the import bashing, but I don't see where any of your arguments apply to this company specifically. 

 

Definitely not.  Not until they get past the Yugo/Hyundai image and have decent cars.  And even then, I will always go with Japanese and maybe German.  It took more than 15 years for Hyundai to get past the snicker and often maligned Honda wannabe image.  With these blatant rip offs, BYD is going to come across looking more like a joke than a reputable car company.  And that car crash test was done on a Chinese car.  The BYD tests passed with supposedly so-so results.  We'll see how the company turns out, but I think Munger is pushing his luck here.  BYD will have to do something revolutionary to become a major player, e.g. build a cheap, but good electric car.  Either that, or dominate the local Chinese market.  That's my only hope for this company, is that they build a good and cheap electric car that won't blow up. 

 

Jackie Chan sums it up for me: "If I need to buy a TV, I'll definitely buy a Japanese TV. A Chinese TV might explode."

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I wouldn't dismiss BYD as a viable carmaker. Sure it's a Chinese company but it doesn't mean we can apply general Chinese company stereotypes to it. Munger said that what BYD has done is a bloody miracle. It doesn't sound like a typical company to me.

 

They have a car that looks like a Benz model but many designs are "borrowed" from others. Some of the most important inventions in history were improvements of prior ones. The Europeans took papermaking from the Muslims who previously took it from the Chinese.

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If they can make the best battery than they will win the battle.  They also have the opportunity to sell drivetrain parts, batteries etc. to third-party operators.  They are going to pick one American and two European operators to sell to.  Doing it this way is probably higher ROIC than developing the entire car, network etc. (Although they're already doing that to some extent).

 

http://evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=21590

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