China's battery and electric car producer BYD Co said yesterday that it would invest 1.5 billion yuan ($219.71 million) to build China's largest vehicle testing center, in a bid to strengthen its research and development capability as well as to enhance the quality of its offerings.
The center in Shaoguan, Guangdong province, which will include an auto parts production base as well, is scheduled to begin operations before 2012. Upon completion, the output value of the center is expected to exceed 1 billion yuan.
According to BYD, the testing center, the largest in the country, will help it break into the top ranks of the global automobile industry in terms of R&D capability and vehicle quality control.
The Warren Buffett-backed automaker currently has a nationwide quality control and R&D system, including vehicle inspection lines, at its manufacturing bases in Xi'an and Shenzhen; a vehicle crash testing lab in Shanghai and an R&D center at its headquarters in Shenzhen.
BYD announced in late September that a high-speed curved cycling track in Shenzhen, the fifth such proving ground in China, had gone on-stream, making it the first Chinese automaker to have its own circuit.
"BYD always attaches much attention and invests hugely in R&D and quality control as we believe the quality of our products is vital to our long-term development," said Xu An, BYD's public relations manager. "We have seen beneficial results from insisting on quality control, especially in making the auto parts ourselves, during previous years."
Currently, BYD produces all the auto parts, except the windshield and tires, for its cars. This is seen as a smart way to shorten the turnover period of sourcing parts and supply, and promises comprehensive quality control of its products and speeds new model launches.