Bus and Truck Maker BYD: What’s in a Name?

February 06, 2017 by John O'Dell

Conventional wisdom is that Chinese battery and electric vehicle maker BYD Co.’s name is an acronym for “Build Your Dreams.”

It certainly has come to stand for that, but the aspirational phrase wasn’t part of the original name, said Andy Swanton, head of sales for BYD’s U.S.-based electric truck division.

When chemist Wang Chuanfu lost his job as a government researcher and co-founded the company as a battery maker in 1995, he called it Bi Yada, a pair of unrelated words that, Swanton said, “sounded good together” and have connotations of good fortune.

Bi Yadi quickly became “BYD,” and the letters ultimately were adopted as the formal corporate name.

“Build Your Dreams,” was added as a marketing slogan when the company began operating in English-speaking markets. And while widely used in BYD advertising and corporate brochures, it is not the company’s name, Swanton said.

Related: Electric Truck and Bus Maker BYD on a Roll After Bumpy Start

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