The Chinese car market is exploding (in a good way) right now, despite attempts to curb new car registrations, and it’s only a matter of time before Chinese cars come to American roads. Leading the way of the inevitable Chinese car invasion will be Warren Buffett-backed BYD, which has pledged to bring its Qin hybrid to U.S. shores by the end of 2015.
BYD has already touched down on the west coast commercial market, where it’s American-built all-electric buses have signed a contract with the city of Los Angeles. Alas, political touchiness follows Chinese companies wherever they go, and BYD has already become subject to a wage-paying controversy and lawsuit involving its bus operations, despite initial reviews that are largely positive. Hopefully its launch into the consumer market will go a bit better.
The BYD Qin (“Chin”, pictured above) is a great product to launch with though, as the plug-in hybrid sedan boasts of a 6-second 0 to 60 mph sprint, a 43-mile all-electric range, and a $31,400 MSRP before any incentives. Even with import tariffs attached, the Qin isn’t likely to cost much more than $40,000, and could be close to $30,000 when tax grants are applied.
BYD will also bring over three other unspecified car models for its 2015 launch, which could be anything from their lineup, though it is pinning its hopes for success to hybrid and other green car sales, which it has invested heavily in. Unfortunately, Chinese consumers in major urban areas are still avoiding green car purchases, and even with heavy government support, BYD is now looking outside of China for green car sales growth. With rumors that the company could ditch conventional gas engines altogether, BYD is banking big on the importance of fuel economy to consumers.
After an aborted 2010 launch, BYD is making another bid for the U.S. market, and their success or failure may determine how other Chinese automakers go forward with their own market ambitions. Just about everything American consumers buy is in one way or another linked to Chinese manufacturing, but are we really ready to invest $30,000 into a wholly Chinese-made car? 2015 is the year we’ll find out.
Source: Automotive News