The next big thing in the automobile industry is off to a small start in Glendale.
Chinese carmaker BYD Co. is using a Brand Boulevard dealership to help launch its American sales effort. For several months a handful of BYD workers have occupied an office off the showroom of Cars 911 at 400 S. Brand Blvd. They’re planning the North American debut of the company’s all-electric and gas-sipping economy cars.
The team also has been servicing a fleet of 10 BYD vehicles leased to the Housing Authority of Los Angeles.
Bill Wang, a business development manager in Glendale, said BYD has lined up about 10 dealerships across the country for fleet and consumer sales slated to begin in late 2011 and early 2012.
Micheal Austin, Chicago-based vice president of BYD America, credited Onnik Mehrabian, owner of the Cars 911 lot, for welcoming his operation.
“Onnik’s a great corporate citizen,” Austin said. “He was willing to let us train our technicians and service the vehicles there.”