Blog: Dave LeggettBYD takes a charger hit

Dave Leggett | 9 November 2009

China's BYD is an up and coming automaker with considerable expertise in the area of batteries. It's a big supplier of lithium-ion batteries to cell phone manufacturers – in fact that was where it started and where its core business was before it picked up assets off the shelf from a failed firm to get into autos.

The firm's CEO has made some pretty bold assertions about how quickly it can expand in autos and where it will be in a few years time. Some critics have accused the firm of talking things up. But they have persuaded a certain W. Buffett to be a significant investor, so there must be some validity to the relentlessly upbeat talk. And there is now a BYD hybrid on the Chinese market and it seems to have got off to a good start.

But there has been a slight wake-up call (sorry, can't resist that) for BYD on the cell phone front. Nokia said on Monday it would replace 14 million chargers made by BYD saying the chargers could fall apart.

Nokia said BYD would cover all costs from replacement. An average charger sales price to phone manufacturers is apparently around $1.

"The plastic covers of the affected chargers could come loose and separate, exposing the charger's internal components and potentially posing an electrical shock hazard if certain internal components are touched while the charger is plugged into a live socket," the Finnish firm said. Ouch.

Sounds like Nokia is wasting no time in letting the world know where responsibility for this one lies.

Some related BYD news: Wang Chuanfu, founder and chairman of BYD is first on the Forbes China Rich List 2009, up from 23rd place last year, according to the list released in Shanghai on Thursday.


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