Byton, which burst onto the scene with big promises and a lot of hype in 2018, appears headed toward bankruptcy, according to a report last week from Nikkei. Byton missed payroll and halted all production processes, according to the report, and a local court began initial bankruptcy proceedings.
Byton did not immediately return a request for comment on the news, but a source close to the startup told Nikkei it will likely be incredibly difficult for the company to bounce back. The flashy startup, which former BMW and Nissan executives first concocted, once had the attention of local Chinese governments, state automaker FAW and even Foxconn. Today, each party reportedly no longer has an interest in bankrolling the company, which was meant to begin production of its M-Byte electric SUV two years ago. The firm lost its CEO and laid off staff in 2020 as the pandemic reportedly wreaked havoc on its operations.
It's unclear what will become of Byton as bankruptcy proceedings begin, but it feels more unlikely than ever we'll see the flashy flagship SUV come to life. The same source that spoke to Nikkei said the firm would no longer be competitive in today's automotive market after so many years of false starts.