China's BYD Introduces Electrified Models in Detroit, But No Firm Launch Dates
Only one Chinese automaker made a splash at the 2011 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, MI, and that was BYD (Build Your Dreams). Despite the fact that BYD faced a troubled 2010 in its home market, the company’s founder and chairman Wang Chuanfu made the trek across the Pacific to address the media, many of whom have been curious as to whether the automaker will be able to follow through on its promise to bring electric cars – or cars of any kind – to the American market.
The presentations given by BYD, Wang Chuanfu and other BYD executives and dignitaries at the Detroit Auto Show were confusingly broad, with much of the focus shifted away from the specific vehicles that BYD had on display at its booth. Instead, Build Your Dreams officials elaborated at length about the company’s “Three Green Dreams,” which boiled down to scathing criticism of current world energy use, the habits of hybrid automakers and the potential offered by BYD’s energy storage systems to help electrify the grid from solar sources. The presentation was at times dark, authoritarian and belligerent – both on video and in live remarks – with little mention made of BYD’s automobile plans for North America until deep into the media conference.
After the rhetoric concerning energy responsibility had settled down, BYD did make several intriguing statements concerning the potential for its vehicles to eventually find an American audience. The current plan is for the BYD E6 electric sedan to be introduced in the first quarter of 2012, followed by the S6DM dual-mode crossover (which features both electric and gasoline drivetrains).
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