DETROIT — Chinese electric-vehicle makers have proliferated in recent years, with dozens sketching ambitious plans to enter the market. Some of the top competitors have spent millions showcasing concepts at places such as CES to ensure they stand out amid a crowded field.
Bordrin Motor Corp., on the other hand, has been content to keep quiet.
"Why would you spend millions at CES when you are years away from selling a car?" asks Jerry Lavine, the company's North American president. "We have investors. We haven't wasted work just to build a show car."
Since its founding in 2016 by former Ford senior engineer Ximing Huang, Bordrin has concentrated on building real cars. The results of these first efforts will soon be seen by outsiders for the first time. This week, the company will unveil its first production model, the B31 SUV, along with a premium-segment concept that Lavine says is "pretty damn feasible." The debuts will take place Thursday, April 11, at a company event that precedes the Shanghai auto show, where the public will see them starting April 16.
Production is slated to begin this year on the B31, with automaker FAW Group scheduled to build the SUVs for Bordrin at its assembly plant in Tianjin, China. The company will begin taking orders during the Shanghai show, with deliveries expected to begin in the first quarter of 2020.
No pricing has been announced, but Lavine says the vehicles will be priced on a par with domestic Chinese brands, while comparably equipped and at quality levels akin to Tesla and the Audi e-Tron. The premium vehicle, called the C31, is expected to enter production in 2021, with a full ramp-up planned for 2022.
For now, Bordrin is squarely focused on China, where it will sell cars through company-owned stores. A European rollout will follow, with an initial focus on EV hot spots such as the Netherlands, Germany and Norway. Eventually, the company intends to sell vehicles in the United States.
That has been an ambition of numerous Chinese automakers, but Bordrin at least has a presence in the U.S. A team of more than 90 employees works at the company's offices in Oak Park, Mich., developing driver-assist systems, chassis and body structure. Multiple offices in China employ more than 1,000.
If the idea of yet another Chinese EV company joining the fray conjures a ho-hum response, consider the company intends to announce a range of 550 kilometers on the B31, or nearly 342 miles. That kind of range would be better than some high-profile competitors such as Byton and Nio, but Bordrin vehicles will be cheaper.