First BYTON M-Byte Body-in-white Rolls Off Assembly Line
COVID-19 and China
Daniel Kirchert at BYTON Night. PHOTO Credit : BYTON

The first production body-in-white for M-byte model has rolled off the assembly line on May 31, 2019.

M-byte is the first mass production car under the brand of new car manufacturer Byton. It will be put into production in the fourth quarter of 2019 and will be pre-sold before the end of this year.

Body in white (BIW) refers to the stage in automotive design or automobile manufacturing in which a car body's sheet metal components have been welded together — but before moving parts (doors, hoods, and deck lids as well as fenders) the motor, chassis sub-assemblies, or trim (glass, seats, upholstery, electronics, etc.) have been added and before painting.

The name derives from manufacturing practices before steel unibody or monocoque bodies — when automobile bodies were made by outside firms on a separate chassis with an engine, suspension, and fenders attached. The manufacturers built or purchased wooden bodies (with thin, non-structural metal sheets on the outside) to bolt onto the frame. The bodies were painted white prior to the final colour.

Byton is a Chinese all-electric vehicle automotive brand established in 2017 and incorporated in Hong Kong, co-founded by former BMW and Nissan Motor executives. The cars are designed for the age of shared mobility and autonomous driving (called “Next Generation Smart Device”).

Byton's cars are named as a variation on the term "Byte", such as "M-Byte" and "K-Byte".

The M-Byte is an all-electric battery-powered SUV concept car. It was first announced is the mid-sized Byton crossover, but only in concept form. It was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on 7 January 2018.

The company is currently running a trial shop at its Nanjing headquarters where drivable prototypes are built. It plans to introduce its M-Byte SUV model first, with the start of production scheduled for late 2019. The SUV will go on sale in China end of 2019, followed by the U.S. and European markets in the second half of 2020.

Byton opened its production base, Nanjing plant to the media and partners for the first time on May 8. The production base is located in the economic and technological development zone of Nanjing, covering an area of 1200 mu ('mu' is a unit of area in Chinese, 1 mu=0.1647369 acre), with a total investment of over CNY 11 billion.

Byton's assembly plant uses the same assembly equipment as Tesla's, and each worker completes at least 7,500 cycles of the job before mass production. As for capacity, the first phase of Byton Nanjing plant is planned to produce 150,000 units per year. With the improvement of efficiency, the plant will eventually produce 300,000 units per year.

According to Byton, the company now has more than 1,800 employees, 500 in Silicon Valley and 100 in Germany, with the rest stationed at its headquarters in Nanjing. In the second half of the year, with the production staff, the total size will reach about 3,000 people.

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