It has been another wild week in the global automotive business, with still-recovering General Motors already reasserting its U.S. sales leadership, Ford's
But as always, there's plenty more going on. Here are a few of the significant stories you might have missed.
BYD's big move
Say what you want about Chinese auto-and-battery-and-maybe-PC-maker BYD, but don't say they aren't audacious: The Berkshire Hathaway
Basing its operations in Mercedes' and BMW's backyard isn't at all out of character for a firm that has said it wants to be the world's largest automaker by 2025. BYD hopes to have its headquarters established by the end of this year, and to introduce its e6 electric sedan and F3DM hybrid models to European consumers sometime in 2011.
Ambitious? You bet. Europe isn't BYD's only new market: The e6's U.S. debut is expected late this year.
Is India the next big auto market?
Autos aren't the only industry where folks looking for the "next China" have turned to India, but India is certainly getting a lot of attention from the world's car makers. So far, the key to success in India seems to be "start small." That's "small" as in Tata Motors'
While some of the global giants have been familiar to locals for a while -- Honda
With that in mind, Toyota just announced a major expansion of its Indian operations: The company is building a new factory in Karnataka that is set to begin producing a -- you guessed it -- small car by the end of this year. The plant is eventually expected to produce 200,000 cars a year.
Coda's plans to hit the road
Southern California start-up Coda Motors continues to make noise. The company released a video this week that highlights their upcoming all-electric four-door sedan, due to go on sale in the U.S. late this year. For the most part, the car is a straightforward assemblage of off-the-shelf technologies -- transmissions from BorgWarner
While the company is at pains to present their car as an "American" product, it's probably best described as a Chinese-American hybrid: Coda's car is actually a Hafei Saibao, a sedan designed for Chinese maker Hafei by Italian design house Pininfarina that was first shown at the 2004 Beijing Auto show. Equipped with a four-cylinder gas engine, it currently sells for about $13,000 in China. Coda's plan is to buy "gliders" -- assembled Saibaos without engines or transmissions -- from Hafei, import them, and fit them with electric drivelines here in the U.S.
Coda expects to sell the resulting car for about $45,000. That seems like crazy money for an electrified six-year-old Chinese sedan, especially given the lower-priced alternatives due shortly from mainstream manufacturers like Ford and Nissan, but maybe I'm off-base.
What do you think? Does Coda have a chance? Scroll down to leave a comment and let me know.
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Fool contributor John Rosevear owns shares of Ford. Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Berkshire Hathaway, BorgWarner, and Ford are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.