The ongoinghas caused turmoil among Chinese electric car startups with eyes on the American market. For Byton, which wowed with its technology-filled M-Byte electric SUV, it's decided to avoid potential tariffs altogether.
According to a Wednesday Reuters report, Byton's parent company, Future Mobility, has inked a deal with South Korea's Myongshin to build the electric SUV locally in Korea. Production will take place at a former General Motors production plan that Myongshin purchased from the US automaker this past June. The deal called for 50,000 Byton M-Byte models produced annually starting in 2021.
Cars made in South Korea and exported to the US can avoid costly tariffs. Meanwhile, both the US and China continue to escalate. The South Korean supplier didn't confirm the M-Bytes built there would be for the US market but told Reuters they'll be sold locally in Korea and overseas. However, it appears more than likely this is a loophole of sorts to crack into the US market and take advantage of a free-trade agreement in place.
Byton showed off theearlier this month at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and it largely stays true to the concept vehicle. First deliveries will start in China next year. After that, the company wants to begin sales in Europe and the US. The eye-grabbing piece is no doubt the curved 48-inch screen inside the cabin that stretches across the dashboard.
Underneath, the SUV will come with a rear-wheel-drive layout, a single electric motor on the rear axle and a 72 kilowatt-hour battery pack that should give the M-Byte a 224-mile range and 270 horsepower. The all-wheel-drive model plops a second motor on the front axle and adds a 95 kWh battery. The larger battery will supposedly give the SUV a 270-mile range, but both estimates are on the European WLTP cycle. EPA estimates will be lower.
Byton targets a starting price of $45,000 whenever the SUV makes its way to America.