BYD Seeking Brand Recognition As Tesla Grabs Attention

Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD wants to build its brand recognition equal to what Tesla has been receiving.

Advanced bookings for the recently launched Tesla Model 3 has raised concerns for better recognition of BYD’s technological leadership, said Stella Li, BYD’s senior vice president. The maker of the Qin, Tang and Song models, named after three Chinese imperial dynasties, will focus on branding in the next two to three years to improve BYD’s brand awareness, Li said.

BYD, which has led the world in EV sales over several months, might be better known for winning an investment by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. BYD’s EV sales have been focused on the Chinese market, where Tesla is now establishing presence.

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Tesla may be getting a wave of enthusiasm for a car that yet to manufactured, but BYD comes from a different philosophy. “We don’t seek a moment’s glory or satisfaction, but take a long-term view,” Li said. “BYD hopes to create a business that’ll be around for a hundred years.”

“Wang Chuanfu [BYD CEO] is a marathoner, while Elon Musk is a 100-meter sprinter,” Li said. “A long-distance runner and a sprinter have different abilities and strengths.”

BYD is building a limited number of electric buses at its Lancaster, Calif., factory this year. BYD plans to eventually branch out of China and sell its cars in other markets such as the U.S.

Inside EVs