But what makes BYD stand out from the crowd? Billionaire Warren Buffett invested by October 2008 230 million dollars in the to become electric car manufacturer. What made him do this?
BYD has proven that despite been a newcomer and outsider to the auto industry, it has smartly managed to cut through competition, many many companies failed to do so in China, Lifan has not managed to increase, Bird a Ningbo cell phone manufacturer made a claim to enter the market and gave up months later, not to mention some non auto related supplier like Polarsun in Shenyang (originally making house door parts), ZhongYu (originally making street lighting equipment) from Wuhan still struggle to make it pay. Let's be frank, there is no room for many players and if you enter the market after 2000, it is far too late.
BYD tries to capitalize on its core activity : batteries.
In the coming years, they will market heavily their electric cars their point of differenciation. First they made an announcement about their F3e (for electric), and later showed their F6 DM, and have started to sell their F3 FM in China , with little success until now. The problem is the price and maybe are they coming too soon. Environmental friendly is a very new concept in China, the world's first polluter after the USA.
The fallout from the slump in auto sales after the Global Financial Crisis, the government’s bailouts of two of the Big Three, the liquidation of numerous dealerships and the reduction in hybrid sales that came with the sudden drop in fuel prices is still being felt in much of America’s automotive heartland. Add to that the small market share commanded by hybrid and electric vehicles – just 2.2% worldwide according to JD Power – and BYD may be in over their heads already.
AS Mike Omotoso from JD Power explains:
“Because consumers are wary about electric vehicles and their driving range and batteries, they are even more likely to go with more established companies like G.M. and Nissan. The problem with the Chinese car companies is they are trying to run before they walk.”
Only time will tell if BYD’s U.S. plans end in fruition or failure.