Daimler/BYD joint venture to show concept, announce brand and logo at Beijing auto show

Mercedes-Benz logo

The Mercedes-Benz logo is well-known in China.

Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co. Ltd. (BDNT), a 50/50 joint venture between the Chinese automaker BYD Company Limited http://www.byd.com/ and Daimler AG, has announced that it will reveal a “Design Concept of the future joint venture electric vehicle” at Auto China in April 2012.  BDNT didn’t announce what kind of vehicle would be revealed, other than to say it would be a “new generation of compact to mid-size electric vehicles” that would be launched in 2013.

Also at Beijing, BDNT’s brand identity will be announced and logo shown for the first time. Both car makers already make automobiles under their own names, BYD Company Limited as BYD and Daimler as Mercedes-Benz, and both are sold in China.

Daimler reported that 123,590 units of Mercedes-Benz, smart, AMG and Maybach in the People’s Republic of China in the first eight months of 2011, with a record sales of more than 14,080 passenger vehicles in August.

BYD logo

The BYD logo bears a striking resemblance to the Kia logo.

BYD (“Build Your Dreams”) is better known for its battery technology but currently produces the BYD e6, a 5-seat, crossover all-electric vehicle with a 111.4-inch wheelbase. The all-electric e6 went on sale to the public in China last month, though it has been in use in taxi and government applications for more than a year. The $56, 900 (or $38,430 after government subsidy) BYD e6, which uses iron-phosphate batteries developed by BYD, has a range, according to its maker, of “186.4 miles on a single charge in urban conditions.”

BYD sold 519,800 vehicles in 2010, which makes BYD the sixth largest carmaker in China. The Mitsubishi-powered BYD F3, which has been described as looking like a Toyota Corolla with Honda Fit overtones, was the most-purchased car in China that year as well.

BYD is also known for Warren Buffet’s famous investment of $232 million.

Like several other Chinese automakers, BYD has displayed vehicles at the North America International (Detroit) Auto Show, but the the quality of fit and trim have not been impressive. BYD, however, has announced intentions to sell cars in the United States.

For BDNT, however, a production version of the new all-electric vehicle is underway, and BDNT plans to have the electric vehicle’s first prototypes running by spring of 2012. According to the announcement, “The joint venture will use BYD’s excellence in battery technology and e-drive systems and Daimler’s know-how in electric vehicle architecture and safety.”

BYD blue-white logo

An earlier BYD logo was criticized for too closely resembling the famous BMW rondel.

“Production of the new generation of compact to mid-size electric vehicles in Shenzhen is going to be closely accompanied by Daimler’s quality management experts and will to a large extent follow Daimler’s standardized production system for passenger cars.

“The supplier sourcing for the new vehicle is nearly completed. Both partners have decided to sign a number of China-based international as well as local suppliers.”

BDNT did not announce when the first new vehicles from the company would go on sale.