Chinese battery car maker BYD is taking a giant step closer to finally launching itself into the U.S. market with today’s opening of its U.S. headquarters.
With the debut of the new Los Angeles facility, the company promised to create 150 jobs as it puts a small number of 40-passenger electric buses into operation as shuttles at the Hertz rental office at Los Angeles International Airport. But precisely when its e6 battery-electric SUV and other models will actually go on sale to the U.S. public remains anything but certain after a series of delays.
Short for Build Your Dreams, the Shenzhen-based maker has run into a number of problems that have seen its sales, earnings – and stock price – plunge over the last year.
“L.A. and Shenzhen are definitely the innovation centers for each of our nations,” proclaimed Wang Chuan-fu, BYD’s founder and chairman, during a dedication ceremony that drew an assortment of dignitaries and investors – including Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.
The investment arm for Warren Buffett, it currently holds a 9.9% stake in BYD worth $232 million after the two-thirds plunge the Chinese company’s stock has taken over the past year.