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Toyota & BYD Officially Launch Joint Venture Company to Build Electric Vehicles in China

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【Summary】Toyota Motor Corp announced today that if officially launched its new joint venture company with Chinese automaker BYD. The new company will focus on the research and development of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in China, the world’s biggest auto market.

Eric Walz    Apr 02, 2020 11:45 AM PT
Toyota & BYD Officially Launch Joint Venture Company to Build Electric Vehicles in China

China is the world's largest auto market, It's also the biggest market for electric vehicles (EVs), which has led to many global automakers forming joint ventures with Chinese partners to build battery-powered vehicles for the local market. The latest automaker to enter into a joint venture agreement is Toyota Motor Corp.

Toyota announced today that preparations have proceeded since they first signed an agreement in November 2019 for the establishment of a joint venture company with Chinese automaker BYD. The two companies have announced that registration of the new joint venture has been completed and operations are scheduled to begin next month.

The new company will focus on the research and development of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) for the world's biggest auto market.

The name of the new company is "BYD Toyota EV Technology Co., Ltd." (BTET). The head of Toyota's powertrain division Hirohisa Kishi will serve as chairman and Zhao Binggen from BYD will serve as chief executive officer (CEO). BYD and Toyota will each hold a 50% stake in the new joint venture. 

Toyota plans to staff the new joint venture by transferring its own engineers that are already working on electric vehicle development. BYD will tap employees currently involved in research and development of batteries.

"With the engineers from BYD and Toyota working together under the same roof, we aim to develop BEVs that are superior in performance and meet the needs of customers in China by merging the two companies' strengths and also through friendly rivalry." said Kishi.

The companies first announced a partnership in July, 2019. At the time, Toyota and BYD said they would develop sedans and sport utility vehicles, which would then be sold under the Toyota brand in China sometime before 2025. 

The two companies plan to develop new electric models that appeal to customers in China, which is intended to help promote the widespread adoption of EVs. China plans to lead the world in the adoption of EVs, as the country looks to combat air pollution.

"This joint venture company will focus on the research and development of battery electric vehicles with technology and know-how from both China and Japan. The company is committed to promoting and populating high-quality technologies that make battery electric vehicles more environmentally friendly, safe, comfortable, and intelligent. Our vision is to create a future customer-first mobility style, and a harmonious society for humans and nature." said CEO Zhao Binggen in a statement.

BYD, which is based in Shenzhen, is China's largest manufacturer of EVs. The company is backed by U.S. investor Warren Buffett. BYD builds conventional passenger cars, fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles and electric buses. BYD was founded in 1995 as a battery company before branching out to build electric vehicles.

BYD also has a U.S. factory in Lancaster, California which employs around 800 workers manufacturing its electric buses for city mass transit services. In November 2019, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation ordered 130 electric buses from BYD, the company's biggest U.S. order to date. 

Last year, Toyota announced plans for half of its global sales to come from electrified vehicles by 2025. Extending its reach in China will help the world's second biggest automaker to reach its goal.

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