The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Chinese automaker BYD is planning a new-share sale in China to fund the earlier-than-planned launch of their battery electric vehicle here in the States. The shares sale will also help pay for a second production line near Shenzhen, China, to boost production of BYD's automotive-grade lithium-ion batteries. The launch is planned for next year, giving the automaker only a few months to start promoting the vehicle here to not only raise awareness — most Americans haven't heard of BYD — but to build a brand image, make the vehicle desirable in a market where style and image are just as important as fuel economy. And perhaps styling and image is where the BYD may fall short. At the North American International Auto Show earlier this year, BYD's F6 and F6DM (dual-mode) received a luke-warm reception, criticized for being lackluster and dull. There's no wow or cool factor, which will make branding the BYD as anything other than an environmentally-friendly high-tech choice difficult.

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Photo: BYD