It’s been two years since Daimler and BYD shook hands to produce an electric car for the Chinese market, but the partnership appears to be coming into fruition. Both companies recently announced the official name for the new car brand dubbed Denza.
Details on the EV developed from BYD Daimler New Technology Co. Ltd (BDNT) are not yet available, though a Denza concept car is expected to debut at the Beijing auto show next month. BDNT says the name Denza is derived from a combination of Chinese characters that mean “rising power and momentum.” When the two companies connected back in 2010, BYD was embarking on its ambitious plan to develop and produce a range of hybrid and EVs. The Chinese automaker would bring its EV powertrain to the table, while Daimler provided its engineering and production know-how.
However, BYD, like many automakers in China, has been experiencing a dramatic sales slump due to a market where the demand may be on the declining end of a sky-high peak. In September 2011, the company announced massive layoffs after reporting an 89-percent decrease in year over year sales. BYD executives downplayed the news and said the company should be profitable by the end of this year’s second quarter. The Chinese automaker also had plans to export EVs to the United States by 2011, but so far nothing has materialized beyond the fleet of 10 test vehicles provided to the Los Angeles City Housing Authority in 2010. BYD recently opened its North American headquarters in downtown L.A., but hasn’t announced when it would start selling cars in the U.S. First production of a Denza electric vehicle is planned for the 2013 calendar year.