Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Buffett - Backed BYD Eyes Big Overseas Drive" (BRK-B; 1211 HK)

From Reuters via the New York Times:
BYD Co Ltd, a Chinese car and battery maker founded by China's wealthiest man and backed by U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett, aims to boost its car exports this year as it feeds what it hopes will be improving demand in a recovering global economy.

BYD (slogan: Build Your Dreams) aims to export 5-10 percent of the 800,000 vehicles it should produce this year, up sharply from last year when its overseas sales were just 2.2 percent of its 450,000 vehicles, said Paul Lin, manager of BYD's marketing department.

"Exports in 2009 were about the same as 2008 due to the financial crisis," Lin said in an interview at a BYD car building campus festooned with red lanterns to usher in the Chinese New Year. "Exports this year should be many times higher."

Lin said BYD aims to sell its clean-technology cars in Western Europe next year, following plans to export electric cars to the United States later this year.

"West Europe is a mature market and competition is keen," he said. "We see opportunities in new energy cars because we are on the same track" as Western automakers in making them.

BYD, which employs 130,000, has said it aims to be a major global player by 2025, with vehicle sales of 8-9 million -- not far short of world leader Toyota Motor Corp's current annual sales.

Its F3 sedan was the best-selling car in China last year, beating popular domestic and foreign models, such as Hyundai Motor's <005380.ks> Elantra and Chery Automobile's QQ....MORE