BYD predicts 15pc growth in car sales

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 March, 2011, 12:00am

Battery and carmaker BYD said it expects its car sales this year to grow at the same pace as China's overall car market, a day after reporting a dismal drop in profits and average sales growth last year.

'China's car industry will grow 10 to 15 per cent this year, and we expect our car sales to grow in line with the broader market,' chairman Wang Chuanfu (pictured) said yesterday.

According to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, more than 18 million cars were sold on the mainland last year, up 32 per cent year on year. BYD car sales increased about 10 per cent over the same period. Industry analyst Jia Xinguang said he could not give a forecast for BYD's sales this year as several market factors were still unclear. 'Actually I doubt if it will make 10 per cent.'

Jia said the uncertainties in the market stemmed from runaway inflation and policies initiated by provincial governments to curb car sales.

Wang cited Beijing as an example. 'Last year 80,000 to 90,000 cars were sold every month. This year the city set a monthly ceiling on new vehicles at 20,000.'

The measure is aimed at easing the city's notorious traffic jams. The central government also put an end to tax incentives on December 31 that were introduced during the financial crisis to stimulate sales of cars with engines smaller than 1.6 litres.

Shenzhen-based BYD, which is listed in Hong Kong, is looking to improve its car sales channels and reorganise its sales network to increase efficiency and profitability. 'We will cut the number of distributors to below 1,000,' Wang said.

The company is 10 per cent owned by MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway.