If you don’t know the name BYD, perhaps you might have seen some of their cars on this blog or car magazines. I was shocked speechless at the Shanghai Motor Show to see a Mercedes CLK front merged with a Renault Megane CC rear! Or how about the famous Altis front-City rear F3 sedan, or even the cloned Toyota Aygo?
Well, there’s a possibility of these cars coming to our shores as BYD Auto (Build Your Dreams) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Berjaya Corp Bhd to explore the possibility of building the F0 1.0-litre small car for ASEAN. F0 is the Aygo lookalike currently retailing for US$5,000 to US$7,000 in China.
The terms of the agreement includes a feasibility study on the conversion of the left-hand drive F0 to a right-hand drive version together with related research and development as well as having Berjaya as the distributor of the vehicle. Both parties would also cooperate in setting up a manufacturing plant near Rawang where Berjaya has set aside a 100-acre site.
But first, Berjaya needs a new manufacturing license as under the current National Automotive Policy, the Government has frozen licenses for the manufacture of petroleum-based vehicles under 1.8 litres. Berjaya executive director Datuk Francis Lee said there was “a strong case” for the Government to approve the manufacturing license as the deal would be the first step towards making Malaysia the regional hub for BYD’s right hand drive cars.
Shenzhen-based BYD is an auto and battery manufacturer that’s relatively advanced in the development of hybrid and electric vehicles. It was the fourth-largest automaker by sales volume in China last year with more than 450,000 units sold, and targets to touch 800,000 units this year. Berjaya’s Lee added the future plant would be initially for petroleum-based vehicles but would be expanded to include BYD’s new-energy vehicles at a later stage.