"The China market is still on the rise, especially for new-energy vehicles," he said. New-energy vehicles include battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
GYON will face stiff competition in an already-crowded China EV field that includes startups Nio; WM Motor Technology Co., or Weltmeister; and Xiaopeng, as well as EVs from established automakers such as General Motors and Volkswagen.
Arriving late to the EV game will benefit GYON, said Chao, who, as CEO of DaimlerChrysler's China operations, oversaw the construction in Beijing of a plant to produce Mercedes-Benz E-class and C-class vehicles.
"This is the perfect time for us to jump in," he said. "We have learned a lot from other's experiences."
Chao also was previously a senior vice president at Chrysler. His former boss, Tom LaSorda, was at the event here.
Chao's lean manufacturing experience will help GYON succeed, said LaSorda.
"One of the biggest problems for startups is making the cars," he said. "This brand has to be shockingly exciting."
Also at the event were Jacky Xian, a GYON investor and CEO of Sitech; Sunho Park, head of GYON quality center and also quality manager at Sitech; Sebastien Yang, manager of GYON marketing and product planning; and Thomas Zhang, chief engineer.