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BYD’s Sales GM: “I will apologize four times”

Published November 18, 2010

In 2018 China Car Times was acquired by Autowise. This article originally appeared on ChinaCarTimes.com.

Mr. Xia Zhi Bing is BYDs Sales GM, a Hainan person by birth but a Beijing University graduate, in 1999 he was assigned the role of BYDs Financial manager, but he moved over to be the sales manager before he was 30. Many people believed that Mr. Xia didnt have the skills or the experience to be the sales GM after all, he wasnt even 30 at the time. His boss, Chinas richest man, Wang Chuan Fu, did believe in Mr. Xias ability.

Mr. Xia proved his critics wrong with the BYD F3, a vehicle that managed to sell 30,000 units per month and put BYD firmly in the spotlight, it even outsold popular joint venture made models such as the Ford Focus by a ratio of 3:1. On September 27th of this year, coach after coach with BYD logos on the side were ferrying dealership owners and managers from Shenzhen airport to the Intercontinental Shenzhen Hotel. At the time, there were plenty of stories regarding BYD and Warren Buffet, but there were no reports of what happened at the BYD dealer dinner that night.

Mr. Xia came to the stage and appealed to the dealers to stay with BYD despite the shrunken sales target that saw the 2010 sales goal drop from 800,000 units to a more reasonable 600,000, he also announced the setting up of BYDs own financial services company which would improve sales by allowing BYD to offer its own car loans to potential buyers. Mr. Xia left his podium, he walked closer to the stage edge and bowed to the crowd, he expressed his remorse and apologized for the sour turn in sales in 2010, the audience erupted into applause that lasted for several minutes.

When asked by a journalist why BYD was forced to reduce its sales figure from 800,000 units per year to 600,000 per year Mr. Xia said: Why did we aim for 800,000 new car sales after selling just 400,000 in 2009? perhaps we were just too crazy, but I think we had a good reason to be crazy. The Police force tell us that they have registered 70 million cars in China, but there are 150 million people in China with a driving license, so that works out at 80 million people that have a driving license but no car, plus 20 million people per year are learning to drive and yet China only sells around 17 million cars per year. China obviously has a massive market to fill.

He then went onto say:

We worked hard for five years, and after that five years we are the front of the Chinese self developed cars, I personally have to thank Geely and Chery for being at the forefront all along as BYD was able to study them. BYD is actually doing better than Geely in some areas, in the third quarter Chery sold 475,300 cars, BYD sold 386,200 cars (Chery exported 67,900 which is included in the sales). BYD has no trodden road ahead of it now, before we could follow Chery or Geely, but now we are forced to make our road, to not make a mistake is our biggest mistake. The joint venture companies and their partners are coming with their low end brands, if we dont move we will wait for difficult times, if we move we will have difficult times but at least we can move with the tide.

BYD has often been accused of not protecting its sales channels enough, which is what lead to several dealers pulling out of the BYD network earlier this year, BYD added its A3 and A4 networks which sees different cars sold to different networks to appeal to different consumers in different regions, but Mr. Xia believes that development is too fast and its affecting their young work force Our workers are too young, BYD is expanding too fast. Every year we take over a 1000 students from the top universities from around China, although they under go a lot of training before they take up positions these young workers lack experience  but we ask a lot from them, perhaps our dealers are not entirely happy with their work methods or attitudes. These dealers also have experience with other brands and manufacturers so they perhaps think that our staff training is not enough, and to these dealers I apologise, it has affected the BYD dealer relationship

BYDs biggest problem appears to be that it is essentially giving on the job training to its staff, where as other brands have slower expansion than BYD which allows them to to give more training to its staff and makes for a better relationship with dealers.

When the A1 network was set up, A1 dealers condemned us, our workers apologised to them. But now the A1 network is a mature market, our dealers are making money and the original issues have naturally been ironed out, when the A2 was set up similar issues appeared and our A2 dealers condemned us yet again but we could only apologise yet again.

For BYD it seems that the A1 and A2 networks are stable, but Mr. Xia has also had to apologise to the A3 networks once more by saying Dont blame our young works, if you want to me blame someone, blame me: Xia Zhi Bing, I will bow to you, we will set up new policies that will help you and I will be responsible for them. BYDs financial company is expected to deliver preferential loans to BYD buyers and will be able to improve delivery of cars and will also put new energy cars in each of its sales networks.

I believe that the A3 and A4 networks will turn into mature networks as with A1 and A2, the dealers will make money and our staff will mature also, meaning dealing with these issues will be much easier as we expand, we will become iron soldiers. With regards to BYDs four giant leaps into different networks, I am prepared to apologise four times

Were not only going to apologise to dealers four times, the best way to make dealers happy is to allow them to earn money. Were working hard on developing new models, we have five new high end models the L3/M6/S6/I6/G6 which are ready to take on the higher end of the market. The L3 carries a 1.8L CVT and is aimed at the 120,000rmb and rising segment, the S6 will be BYDs first SUV and will be an important player in a few months time. For the B-segment we will launched the I6 which will be BYDs flagship sedan, the G3 sedan has already seen sales of more than 10,000 units per month. We will soon be like Dongfeng-Nissan with three models reaching sales of more than 10,000 units per month.

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