BYD'S WING WINS IN AUSTRALIA
On August 31, 2016, Sydney Airport unveiled Australia's first pure electric bus fleet in its first commercial operation. This batch of electric buses will operate Sydney Airport's shuttle service between the terminal building and the Blu Emu Car Park. Behind the inspirational news, it is Wing You who has made it happen.
Wing, Sales Directorof BYD Australia Pty Ltd, Asia-Pacific Sales Division, joined the team in 2011 and has been developing Australian markets on his own since then. When he landed Australia for the first time, he was a sales person in energy storage and knew nothing about the Australian market. Now he has become an expert on automobile sales in Australia.
As Wing recalled, when BYD began to enter the Australian market, the first electric bus model to be launched in Australia was the K9. At that moment, just a small number of K9 electric buses were available, so Wing printed the effect picture of the K9 in an English booklet named Green City Solution to present BYD's products to potential customers. Without photos and real buses, what Wing had were just an English booklet with some information about the K9 and his passion for sales. Until 2012, out of Wing's constant efforts, a turnaround came: some Australian customers willing to know more about BYD electric buses began to discuss electric buses with us and put forward requirements for trial operations in Australia.
However, at that time, most of the electric buses BYD promoted to Australia were left-hand-drive ones, while Australians are used to right-hand-drive ones. What's more, according to relevant regulations all buses running on Australia's roads shall comply with the Australian Design Rules (ADRs), but BYD's electric buses had not got any of these certifications. Besides, the measurements that China and Australia took on buses were also different, including the vehicle width, energy consumption levels of air conditioning and braking systems. All these differences became the great barrier blocking BYD's way toward the Australian market.
Unexpected problems came one after another. No time to complain and feel upset, Wing embarked on getting ADRs homologation for the K9. Meanwhile, BYD also began to convert the left-hand-drive buses to the right- hand- drive ones. Thanks to BYD team's perseverance and entrepreneurship, we successfully obtained the ADRs approval.
Once when Wing was boarding, he noticed the airport facility was made by CIMC and distributed by Carbridge Pty Ltd., which aroused his curiosity about Carbridge. The more information Wing got about Carbridge by googling, the more interested he was. Then, Wing wrote an email to its CEO and received his feedback soon. The CEO invited Wing to his office and they exchanged ideas about BYD and the prospects of electric buses.
As Wing recalled, Carbridge was located near the airport, far away from the downtown. The first time Wing came to Carbridge he was totally depending on Google Map. That day he spent over two hours talking with the CEO about how to trial run BYD's electric buses in Australia. He said:“In our talk, we both felt very happy.”
Actually, as Wing said, there was another company hoping to cooperate with BYD. It has a history of over 100 years and manufactures refitted vehicles for Australia's Department of Defence. “We did not choose it because we preferred to cooperate with a down-to earth company which hopes to grow up with us step by step,” Wing said. His thought was very simple: Cooperation is like marriage, where two people should grow up together if they want to last long. In business, if BYD was negotiating with a powerful company, BYD could not have the initiative and would be restricted by various terms and conditions. Carbridge was an ideal choice back then.
In 2014, Wing focused his attention on Sydney Airport by virtue of his sharp marketing insight. Considering the uncertainty whether Sydney Airport would bid for the electric buses, both BYD and its partner Carbridge were taking a large risk. Thousands of BYD electric buses had been operating in China, but no operating data in Australia were available. At that moment, Wing and his partner were convinced that if they could bring an electric bus to run well in Australia and get the necessary operating data, BYD's electric buses were very likely to be chosen by Australian consumers as they were confident that there was no better choice for electric vehicle manufacturers other than BYD. This practice worked out. Priorto the trial run, Sydney Airport had doubted whether the technology was reliable enough, but the successful trial run without any mistakes satisfied them. At last the profitable trial operation (BYD charged a rental fee of about RMB30, 000 per month.) proved BYD K9's outstanding performance and shortly after it finished, Sydney Airport called for international bids for electric buses.
Besides Australia, New Zealand also belongs to the Oceania, but no breakthrough has been made there as New Zealand is a trade center for used cars; however it has been changed since May, 2016 when the Ministry of Transport of New Zealand announced that the government would provide subsidies to electric buses. On September 14, the subsidy program was released officially!
In New Zealand, 90% of its electricity comes from clean energy, and now they have realized that clean energy should be used to green cars, thus they enacted a lot of laws and regulations to encourage and guide people. By 2021, New Zealand will have 64,000 electric vehicles, which is a small figure for China, but for New Zealand, acountry with a population of just a few million, the figure is really very big. The New Zealand market will be greatly different in the future！
When asked to review the past years, Wing said: “My feelings about customers and markets vary according to the stage of market development. I can feel the changes happened to myself: from immature to mature to experienced and then to skillful.” As tothe inspirations, Wing pondered for a while and provided the following three features he thought a salesman should possess: paying attention to details, diligence and learning from friends.
The past over 1,800 days have witnessed Wing's efforts, which, for him, are just a leap forward. For both Wing and BYD, there is still a long way to go.