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China’s BYD Ready to Launch into U.S. Market – Really.

Long-delayed debut could come in 2015, maker insists.

by on Jan.07, 2014

One of BYD's latest models, the F3R.

A New Year and an old promise.  Once again, China’s BYD says it is ready to finally enter the U.S. market.  It’s the same thing the maker has been claiming since showing off its products at the North American International Auto Show in 2010. But while the company will be notably absent from the Detroit show this year, a senior executive claims it is finally ready to make the jump across the Pacific.

The Chinese maker, which has the backing of U.S. mega-investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, plans to introduce four models into the U.S. by the end of 2015, according to Stella Li, who oversees operations in the States.

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But don’t expect the maker to simply come in and undercut the competition, notably “value-priced” brands like Hyundai and Kia, she told the Bloomberg News Service.

“BYD has become more fashionable and we have improved our design and safety. We don’t want to compete on price anymore, but on quality and innovation,” Li said, during an interview of Shenzhen, China.

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China’s Largest Automaker Opens Detroit Office

Could SAIC eventually target U.S. market?

by on Jul.02, 2012

Chinese automaker SAIC opens a new outpost in the Detroit suburbs.

China’s largest automaker has opened a new outpost in the Detroit suburbs to build closer ties with one of its principal partners, General Motors  – as well as some of the other North American automakers and suppliers.

Shanghai Automotive Industries Corporation USA Inc. expects to have 100 employees in its new operations center in Birmingham, Michigan, one of Detroit’s principal suburbs.  What that means in the long-term, especially with the Chinese expected to eventually target the American market, remains an unanswered question.

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Cooperation between U.S. and Chinese automotive companies is increasingly important in the new global automotive marketplace, SAIC Motor Chairman Maoyuan Hu said in a statement Friday.

Maoyuan said the opening of the new North American Operations Center in Birmingham marks an important step in creating a stronger ties between the US and Chinese automotive industries. With the increasing importance of cooperation between the major global automotive markets, this move by SAIC to strengthen its US presence is significant, he said.

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China’s BYD Dedicates L.A. headquarters.

Is long-delayed American debut finally at hand?

by on Oct.25, 2011

BYD has finally dedicated its new U.S. headquarters building in Los Angeles.

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.

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“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.

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Saab Deal Could Open U.S. Doors to $10,000 Chinese Vehicle

Will Swedish tie finally give China an entry into coveted American market?

by on May.12, 2011

Saab could distribute a $10,000 Chinese-made car in the U.S., says Chairman Muller.

Seemingly every year for much of the past decade, one or more of the ambitious Chinese automakers has paid cash for a spot at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show, promising to soon have a product ready for the U.S. market.  This past January, BYD outlined plans to open up a limited distribution network with dealers that would sell not only cars but solar generators and high-efficiency light bulbs.

So far, none of the brands has made the jump across the Pacific, whether due to quality, safety, pricing or other concerns.  In fact, one of the biggest challenges for an automotive wannabe is simply setting up an American distribution network.  So, tying up with an established brand could be the critical step needed for a maker, say Hawtai Automotive Group, that doesn’t want to wait any longer.

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And Hawtai may have just bought into one of those established brands, having spent 120 million Euros to acquire a 29.9% stake in cash-starved Saab, (while also offering the Swedish maker another 30 million Euro loan).

One of the reasons Saab Chairman Victor Muller agreed to the deal was to gain access to the booming Chinese market.  But Hawtai, it seems, sees Saab as a way to get into the U.S., according to a report in the trade journal, Automotive News.

Muller said Saab could start distributing a Chinese-made product that would be priced as low as $10,000, and which could start showing up in the States within two to three years.

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