Monday, January 25, 2010

Let the takeover begin

e6 Front View
Originally uploaded by lee.ekstrom
If the Chinese business man Wang Chuanfu's goal is to lull us to sleep - he has succeeded. The styling is mundane and lackluster. But beware - under the hood of this dragon is Wang's deep desire to be China's top automaker by 2015. He plans on being #1 in the world by 2025. Unreasonable? Think again.

Build Your Dream (BYD) sold 450,000 vehicles in 2009 alone. China is pushing hard to "Go inland." That is - to sell in China first - then conquer the foreign lands. Vehicle sales are skyrocketing - The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported auto sales in second (41%) and third-tier (51%) cities surged for the first 9 months of 2009. Once fortified in China - watch out for the U.S. takeover.

BYD's display didn't have singers, dancers or any showstopping entertainment. But if there were one company to take note of this year - it is BYD. Sure they have to learn our culture and cater to our style and American needs (like large cupholders). But good design can be acquired as seen by Hyundai - when they hired Joel Piaskowski. In fact, Piaskowski was wooed away from Hyundai to Mercedes early last year.

BYD is the largest supplier of cell phone batteries in the world. Combine the worldly know-how with visionaries like Warren Buffet, who recently made a 10% investment in the nascent company and you can just see a glimmer of what's to come. When electric turns the corner in the states, BYD will be there.

There might even be an electric vehicle for sale by the end of 2010. With up to 205 miles between charges, and torque that rivals a Ford F-150 pickup truck, the e6 may have just enough performance for American's to overlook the dull appearance. Time will tell.