Buffett’s Favorite Chinese Automaker Sold 1 Million Cars that Look Like Hondas in the Back and Toyotas in the Front

In 2013, BYD Auto, backed by Warren Buffett, sold more vehicles than any of the other domestic brands in China, we learned from the China Auto Web.

The company also generated $89 million worth of profit during that same time.

Berkshire Hathaway took out a $230 million stake – which is 10% of the company – back in 2008. Since that time, the company has achieved massive levels of success with the F3 sedan compact car, which they have sold more than 1 million vehicles of already.

When first introduced in 2008, the F3 went for a very budget friendly price of $8800. The vehicle has been very popular with first time car buyers and taxicab companies. It’s fairly unremarkable looking as far as a car goes, but it is stylish and it does offer a sense of familiarity.

The designers at BYD have taken the design to a whole new level by doing the extreme and cobbling together a vehicle with the rear end of a Honda City sedan and the front end of a Toyota Corolla. Website Drive Arabia actually said that the vehicle is “insultingly similar” to the City and Corolla. And another website, The Truth about Cars, said “BYD’s F3 received worldwide acclaim for being a Corolla ripoff.”

No doubt about it, the front end of the vehicle is strikingly similar to the Corolla E120 model, and it even has a matching grill and headlight clusters.

Not only that, but the interior of the F3 designed by BYD is also quite similar to the Corolla. It has a similar center console, matching dashboards, vents and HVAC control units.

Oddly enough, the F3’s rear is quite familiar as well. It looks very similar to the 2002 through 2008 model of the Honda City sedan that sold in Asia during that time. The City and the F3 have curved tail lights that match, and each has an inlay with a white dual element. Other similarities are matching trunk latch handles and the same design of deck lids.

As far as propulsion goes, BYD chose the 4G series four-cylinder engine from Mitsubishi for the early models of this vehicle. With the later models, the F3 now uses the company’s own designs for engines.

When looked at from the perspective of a consumer product, the F3 is not exactly polished. Even though the automaker imitated the design of a Toyota, they did not match the high-quality execution of the Japanese automaker. JD Powers rated the BYD products as “below industry average” when they ranked it. As a matter of fact, there is consumer backlash in regards to quality control problems at the automaker, and the company’s profits fell in 2012 partly because of this although they have rebounded in 2013.

As far as the all-new F3 in 2014, the designers at BYD have finally gotten bold and more original. As the existing F3 production lifecycle winds down, the new F3 is going to take over as the latest sales leader for the automaker.

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