Battery maker BYD to export electric cars

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2007, 12:00am


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BYD, a Hong Kong-listed handset battery maker, plans to export its own-branded electric cars to the United States and western Europe by the middle of next year.

'We aim to sell 1.5 million vehicles in eight years' time with the export business making up 50 per cent,' said Xia Zhibing, a general manager at BYD Auto Sales, on the sidelines of the Guangzhou car show yesterday.

BYD, whose battery clients include Motorola and Nokia, is seeking to tap into growing global demand for environmentally friendly cars, amid rising fuel prices and concerns about global warming.

Sales of its F-series electric cars will reach 100,000 this year, a 100 per cent increase from last year.

'We expect to sell 200,000 units next year by rolling out three new models.' Mr Xia said. 'Eventually, we hope the [car] segment will account for 50 per cent of the company's business from less than 20 per cent now.'

BYD expects to raise up to US$1 billion by spinning off its handset components unit by the end of the year, sources said.

BYD is one of five mainland carmakers that will exhibit at the Detroit car show early next year as it prepares to expand its export business.

'We're in talks with many export channels,' Mr Xia said. 'Exports this year will be 10,000 units, with Russia as the main market.' Mainland carmakers including Chery Automobile, Brilliance China and Geely Holding Group are eyeing the export market, with plans to sell their own-branded cars in the US and western European.

Analysts said mature markets such as the US were benchmarks for mainland carmakers as they attempted to meet the safety and emission standards of developed countries.

Zhang Lin, a senior executive at Chery, said last week the company might delay its planned entry into US and Europe because of problems meeting tougher regulations.

Chery signed a deal with Chrysler in August to make and sell cars. The tie-up may make Chery the first carmaker to offer mainland-made cars in the US market.

Separately, Geely Automobile has signed a US$1.5 billion agreement with the Rolf Group of Russia to import and sell Geely sedans in the Russian market.

Powering ahead

The number of electric cars BYD hopes to sell in eight years' time: 1.5m