The car industry is simply unrecognizable. After the recall of Toyota cars and the acquisition of Volvo by Geely (from Ford), the latest news to rock the sector is that Daimler has signed a deal with BYD to create an entirely new brand of electric cars for the Chinese market – the company already commercializes 1 hybrid and 1 pure electric vehicle but they are restricted to corporate and government use.
Not bad for the Chinese battery maker who rose to become a world leader in lithium-ion batteries for mobile phone and whose expansion in the automative business only goes back to 2003. In less than 10 years, it has become the largest Chinese domestic car manufacturer thanks to the popularity of the F3 – a small car model.
A previous agreement with Volkswagen to supply EV batteries seems to have gone nowhere. Let’s hope that this time the agreement bears fruit. It would mark the first technology swap with a major global player, rather than the usual market-for-technology swap. Let’s also hope that the management of the partnership goes well as Daimler has a rather bad track record in that respect: it sold Chrysler to the Cerberus fund and liquidated its acquisitions in Hyundai and Mistsubishi.