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South Korean supplier to build Byton M-Byte at former GM plant

Byton, a Chinese startup, will give the task of production to Korea's Myongshin.

Byton M-Byte

Thousands of these SUVs will come from South Korea.

Byton

The ongoing US-China trade war has 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 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 tariffs on autos. 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 the production version of the M-Byte earlier 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.

Byton unveils final design for M-Byte electric SUV

See all photos
Watch this: Byton's M-Byte electric SUV is ready at the Frankfurt Motor Show
Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.

Article updated on September 26, 2019 at 8:36 AM PDT

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Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
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