Manufacturing News

BYD says new models help recovery from 2012 profit plunge

BYD Co. said new and improved models were winning back buyers and would boost first-quarter profits after a plunge in 2012 earnings.

The company said Sunday that prospects for 2013 were improving as models including the Suri compact car and the S6 SUV, which debuted in the second half of 2012, won back some customers.

For the first three months of 2013, BYD said it expected a net income of 100 million to 140 million yuan ($16 million to $22 million), up sharply from 27 million yuan a year earlier.

In 2012, BYD's net profit plunged 94 percent to 81 million yuan for the full year.

Shrinking share
The company has been introducing models to stabilize its market share. Last year, the company sold 456,056 cars, up 2 percent from a year earlier.

BYD lost share to domestic rivals Great Wall Motor Co., which posted a 28 percent sales increase, and Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd., which had a 15 percent sales rise.

BYD's slowing cell phone assembly business and its unprofitable solar panel division also hurt earnings in 2012, the company said in a statement.

BYD's e6 electric car joined Shenzhen's taxi fleet in 2010 as part of a pilot project initiated by China to put 5 million electric cars and plug-in hybrids on the road by 2020.

Electric cabs in Hong Kong
Forty-five e6 units will join the cab fleet in Hong Kong around May, following in the footsteps in Shenzhen, the company said last week.

BYD already has built three charging stations in Hong Kong and more will be in place before the delivery of its e-cabs, it said.

Electric cars, though, are still a rarity in Chinese cities because of 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 concluded that the car's lithium ion phosphate battery was not the cause of the fire, the company said.

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