The first Chinese vehicles will arrive in the United States by the end of 2015 when BYD Co. launches around four models in the country. Stella Li, the senior vice president in charge of BYD’s US operations, told Bloomberg in an interview that the Chinese carmaker wasn't ready when it initially tried to enter the US vehicle market in 2010, noting that it is more prepared this time.
"Back then, we had passion, but we had no brand, no history, no capital and no competitive advantage," Li remarked, adding that BYD has become more fashionable and has improved its design and safety. BYD's plan to enter the US market shows how Chinese carmakers are getting ready to shake up the US car market just like what Japanese and South Koreans did decades earlier.
"Entering the U.S. market carries more symbolic meaning to brand building than actually boosting its bottom line," said Han Weiqi, an analyst with CSC International Holdings Ltd., adding that Chinese carmakers need to make sure that their offerings have sound quality to avoid adverse impact.
He noted that BYD has a history of planning bigger than it can actually deliver. BYD is eyeing again the US market following the completion of a three-year reorganization in 2013, during which billionaire founder and Chairman Wang Chuanfu trimmed the number of dealerships and cut losses at its solar business, mainly thanks to state incentives.