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Chinese BYD is Toyota clone for less

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Our PR person, simple-minded Diego, is not much of a car guy. But he brought my attention to a car he became interested in during the Dubai Motorshow, lost among all the supercars that few can afford. It was the Chinese-built BYD F3, which looks insulting similar to the Toyota Corolla at front, and the Honda City at the rear. The interior is completely lifted from the last-generation Corolla, with upgrades such as (fake?) wood and (fake?) leather. All for Dhs 29,900.

That’s apparently the “Motorshow” special price, with the actual price clocking in at Dhs 35,600. Even then, it is a good deal. Powered by a 100 hp 1.6-litre Mitsubishi engine, with a Mitsubishi 5-speed manual gearbox too, it even comes with dual front airbags and keyless entry. An automatic would’ve improved customer response. Build quality is about the same as that of an American-built General Motors vehicle.

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While reliability is uncertain and resale value being certainly low, the BYD will be a tough sell without strong marketing and even stronger warranty. Let’s see how the local dealers handle this one. We already spotted a review of one of these in a local magazine many months ago, but we couldn’t even track down the dealer until this show. Naser Mohd Naser Al Sayer Trading Co. LLC, situated on Airport Road in Dubai, need to shorten their business name and come up with a better awareness campaign if they want to continue in this tough market. But kudos to them for not displaying skimpily-dressed women at their stand.

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