The fortunes of China’s many automakers great and small seem to change with the seasons, and BYD is one of the many companies struggling to assert dominance over the world’s largest car market. To set itself apart from competitors, BYD is reportedly working on a performance plug-in hybrid and electric car that will hopefully inject some excitement into its lineup.
BYD is desperately seeking a means to prop up its plummeting stock shares, which have risen and fallen with an unpredictable Chinese car market. In 2012 BYD didn’t even sell 500,000 units, despite having sold more than 600,000 vehicles in 2011, causing its stock price to sink 75% and empowering rumors that the automaker could go 100% hybrid and electric. There are even plans to sell BYD’s E6 EV here in America, but only through fleet purchases.
Super-investor Warren Buffett owns some 10% of BYD, and sales in 2013 have been on the rise, though there is still intense competition for China’s growing new car market. Sales of BYD’s hybrid and electric cars have fallen far short despite big group buys by local governments, but the automaker is still well-positioned should the Chinese market make a break for greener cars, the options will be decidedly more fun than in previous years.
The BYD Tang plug-in hybrid will mate a 2.0 liter turbocharged gas engine with an electric motor allowing the sedan to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds. The same powertrain will debut in the BYD S7 SUV first though, and a pure electric performance car will offer even more performance.
Powered by batteries alone, the BYD E9 will supposedly go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds, about on par with the Tesla Roadster, though once again any other specifications are up in the air. Hopefully though these new green performance vehicles give BYD’s designers the wherewithal to break out of a design language that borrows all the worst parts from the most boring vehicles of the 1990s. With other Chinese companies rolling out powerful performance hybrids and EVs of their own, BYD needs to differentiate itself in a big way if they ever hope to make a move into the U.S.
Source: China Car Times