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BYD guns for top slot before 2015
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China's battery and electric carmaker BYD Co is aiming to become the nation's largest passenger car manufacturer ahead of its targeted 2015 schedule, a senior company executive told China Daily yesterday.

BYD was also making efforts to fulfill its dream of overtaking Toyota as the world's No 1 carmaker, through annual sales of over 10 million cars by 2025, via a series of "prudent" moves it made recently, said Wang Jianjun, deputy general manager of BYD Auto Sales Co Ltd.

BYD guns for top slot before 2015

"We have plenty of time to become China's top carmaker by 2015 with a complete and mature product line-up. I am sure we can achieve the target earlier than scheduled," Wang told China Daily. "And, we believe that we can achieve the target through organic growth. We don't have any plan to boost our business by acquiring foreign brands or assets."

In the first eight months of 2009, the Shenzhen-based firm sold 246,881 cars in total. Its half-year sales were up 133 percent over last year. Wang said he was positive BYD would sell 400,000 units this year.

"As we planned, we will first make every existing BYD model top its respective segment, and then develop new products," said Wang.

F3, the most popular BYD model, was crowned China's best selling car thrice - in January, July and August - this year. The company is planning to sell 180,000 F3 cars this year.

In August, sales of BYD's small car F0 touched 10,023 units, making the company the first local car brand with two models breaching the 10,000-unit sales barrier.

Shares of BYD Co dropped slightly, by 0.9 percent to HK$66 on the Hong Kong bourse yesterday.

However, its stock, 10 percent owned by US billionaire Warren Buffet, has surprisingly surged 648 percent during the past year. The company's chairman Wang Chuanfu said earlier this month that Buffet intended to raise his stake in BYD, as the legendary investor believed BYD had good prospects in the development of new energy vehicles.

Last week, the Hong Kong-listed company said that it had received the necessary shareholder approval for a public float on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange within one year, with a 100-million-share issue to raise funds for its new energy vehicle projects.

At the end of July, BYD said it planned to expand its existing production facility in Xi'an by setting up a new plant with an annual output of 400,000 units to produce its F3 cars, other new models and auto parts.

"These prudent moves promise healthy development for BYD in the next few years," said Wang.

(China Daily September 17, 2009)

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