DETROIT — Few doubt that Chinese-made cars will be sold in the United States some day.
But even though BYD Auto Co. and Shenyang Brilliance Jinbei Automotive Co. had cars at the auto show here last week, their presence did little to clear up just when that day will be.
BYD plans to sell a plug-in hybrid sedan, the F6DM, and an electric van, the E6, here in 2011.
But many questions are unanswered.
For instance, the cars' batteries use a lithium iron phosphate chemistry developed by parent BYD Co., a major global manufacturer of lithium ion batteries for cell phones. Chairman Wang Chuanfu said the auto battery has been tested in China, but results have not been made public.
Also, the cars have not passed U.S. safety and emissions tests.
"The most difficult issue could be certification," Wang acknowledged.
Finally, no U.S. dealership network exists for the cars. BYD is evaluating how to distribute them, Wang said.