BYD tried to make a big splash in 2010 by setting up headquarters in Los Angeles and representing the first big push by a Chinese company to start selling cars in the U.S. They said they'd be selling cars to Americans by now and they'd be employing lots of people in California. That hasn't happened, though.
The New York Times reported this weekend that BYD got slammed with a $100,000 fine by the state of California for violating minimum wage laws. The report claims that the company is staffing its downtown LA offices with at least five Chinese workers who are being paid in yuan, not dollars. And that paycheck translated into something like $1.50 an hour, not including a $50-a-day allowance, according to one employee. Still, the hourly rate is less than a quarter of the state's minimum wage.
Back in 2010 when BYD arrived in LA with some tax breaks from the city, they promised that by August 2015 they'd employ at least 58 people there, but their own executives predicted more than 100 working in California by now. There are orders for 40 electric BYD buses from the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach, but the bus that's been sold is still undergoing testing. And the electric car promised to be sold by now, the BY6 e6? Earlier this year, the company said it'd be a fleet-only vehicle.
No, BYD hasn't been the gift to the City of Los Angeles and the State of California that was originally promised. And the invasion of Chinese cars in the U.S. hasn't unfolded as planned. Will it? That you still need to stick around for.
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