BMW Alums' China Electric-Car Maker Is Said to Seek $400 Million

(Bloomberg) -- Byton, the Chinese electric-car startup founded by former BMW AG executives, is seeking about $400 million in a new round of funding, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Nanjing-based company, which showcased a concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this month, has been reaching out to potential investors to gauge their interest, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Byton, formerly known as Future Mobility Corp., this month unveiled an electric SUV that uses facial recognition to unlock doors, Amazon’s Alexa to entertain and a 49-inch screen across the dashboard. Its first model will be available for sale next year starting at $45,000, compared with a $35,000 base price for Tesla’s Model 3.

No final agreements have been reached, and details of the fundraising plan could change, the people said. A representative for Byton declined to comment.

Byton received $200 million from a Suning Holdings Group Co. fund and some state-owned firms in Jiangsu province, Chief Operating Officer Daniel Kirchert said in August. China Harmony New Energy Auto Holding Ltd. is also an investor in Byton.

The company’s chief executive officer, Carsten Breitfeld, was a leading engineer for BMW’s i8 electric car and worked at the German maker for about 20 years. Kirchert was in charge of marketing at BMW’s local venture in China and worked at Nissan’s Infiniti.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Vinicy Chan in Hong Kong at vchan91@bloomberg.net, Yan Zhang in Beijing at yzhang1044@bloomberg.net.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

With assistance from Vinicy Chan, Yan Zhang