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Europe/China: Daimler And BYD To Birth Electric-Car Love Child This Spring

Opposites, it’s said, attract. And automakers don’t come much more opposite than Daimler AG and BYD. Daimler is the parent to such prestigious brands as Maybach and Mercedes-Benz, and is known the world over for building fine and durable automobiles.

BYD, on the other hand, is best known for missing deadlines, delaying launches and, possibly, ignoring patent law. Even in its home market of China, the maker of the Corolla clone F3–China’s most popular car–is hardly seen as a desirable brand.

Why, then, would Daimler partner with BYD to deliver co-branded products to the Chinese market? As our own Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield explains, it’s a marriage of necessity; Daimler needs an electric vehicle partner in China, and BYD needs the credibility of a Daimler co-brand.

BYD e6 electric taxi in service in Shenzhen, China

According to Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, the design of the electric car the companies are working on is now “frozen,” with initial prototypes due next April. That means the joint venture project is on track, although Zetsche admits that the relationship with BYD hasn’t been what it first seemed.

As Zetsche explained to InsideLine, BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu seemed like a man “who could walk on water–which he can’t.” Zetsche also said that BYD’s
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