BEIJING, March 24 BYD Co Ltd
, a Chinese carmaker backed by U.S. billionaire
Warren Buffett, said new and upgraded models were winning back
buyers and would boost first-quarter profit after a plunge in
The company said on Sunday prospects for 2013 were improving
as models including the Suri compact car and S6 SUV, which hit
the showroom in the second half of 2012, won back some of its
In a stock exchange filing, BYD said it expected to book
between 100-140 million yuan ($16.10-22.54 million) net income
in January-March, up sharply from 27 million yuan a year
earlier, thanks largely to rising car sales.
Last year, its net profit plunged 94 percent to 81.4 million
yuan from 1.4 billion yuan a year earlier, in line with its
preliminary results announced in late February, it said.
BYD sold 456,056 cars in 2012, up just 1.7 percent from a
year earlier, lagging rivals Great Wall Motor Co
and Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, which
posted increases of 28 percent and 15 percent respectively.
BYD's slowing cell phone assembly business and loss-making
solar panel division also weighed on its bottom line in 2012, it
added in a statement.
BYD's Hong Kong-listed shares closed at HK$24.9 on Friday,
up 1.4 percent ahead of the release of its annual earnings,
outperforming a 0.5 percent dip in the Hang Seng Index.
BYD's electric car e6 joined Shenzhen's taxi fleet in 2010
as part of a pilot project initiated by China to put 5 million
plug-in hybrids and electric cars on the road by 2020.
Forty-five of its e6 cars will join Hong Kong cab fleet
around May, following in the footsteps in Shenzhen, the company
said last week.
BYD has already built three charging stations in Hong Kong
and more will be in place before the delivery of its e-cabs, it
Electric cars, however, are still a rarity in Chinese cities
due to the lack of charging facilities and high battery cost.
A BYD e6 taxi caught fire in a fatal accident in May last
year. A probe showed the lithium-ion phosphate battery that
powers the car was not the cause of the fire and it was due to
the high-speed collision, the company said.
($1 = 6.2122 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Fang Yan in BEIJING and Kazunori Takada in
SHANGHAI; Editing by Mark Potter)