Place: Liping, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, Guizhou Province
Chinese name: 比亚迪F0 (bǐyǎdí F0)
Year of launch: 2007
BYD Auto is a subsidiary of BYD Company, a major manufacturer of rechargeable batteries. BYD started producing cars in 2005 when it acquired Qinchuan, a company that produced the Flyer small car. In 2005 it was followed by the hugely popular F3, a copy of the Toyota Corolla E120. It was the best selling car in China in 2009. BYD is infamous for copying cars of Japanese car manufacturers: through the years it has made copies of the Toyota Aygo, Corolla E120, E140, Estima, Honda Accord, Honda Odyssey and Renault Mégane Coupé-Cabriolet, while other cars have striking similarities with the Buick Excelle HRV, Mercedes-Benz SL and Lexus RX.
As a battery producer, BYD is one of the largest makers of electric cars and plug-in hybrids in the world. The F3DM was the world’s first mass-produced plug-in hybrid. One year later it launched the e6, an electric vehicle, which is also operating as a taxi in cities of countries including Belgium, Colombia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the USA. BYD is currently naming their cars after the Chinese dynasties, with names including Qin, Tang, Song, Yuan and Shang.
BYD launched the F1, a blatant rip-off of the Toyota Aygo, in November 2007. It was renamed F0 before sales commenced in 2008, because former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone threatened to file a lawsuit.
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