Wires

BYD's profit triples as China's electric car boom continues

SHANGHAI, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Chinese electric car maker BYD Co Ltd posted a 203.6% rise in first-half profit on Wednesday, as China's new energy vehicle market continues to surge.

The Shenzhen-based company, which is backed by U.S. investor Warren Buffett and whose products include battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, posted net profit of 1.45 billion yuan ($205.29 million), up from 479.10 million yuan a year earlier.

BYD sold 145,653 so-called new energy vehicles (NEVs) between January and June, up 94.5% from a year earlier. It also sold 82,419 fuel cars, down 44.9%.

Revenue rose 14.8% to 62.18 billion yuan from 54.15 billion.

BYD, whose models include the Song series and the Qin plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, aims to move to completely electric-powered vehicles. It said last month it would develop battery electric vehicles (EVs) with Toyota Motor Corp.

Overall sales of NEVs in China rose 49.6% in the first six months of this year from a year earlier, but those sales fell 4.7% in July, the first drop in more than two years, as China cut subsidies on such vehicles from July.

China's Association of Automobile Manufacturers has trimmed its forecast rise for NEV sales this year to 1.5 million from 1.6 million.

BYD, which has a joint venture with Daimler, said the subsidies cut was likely to pressure companies in the industry in the short term, but would promote its healthy development over the long term.

BYD will launch models such as e2, e3 and a revamped Qin in the second half of this year, and expects the new models will further drive sales growth and support the leading position of the group in the industry, the filing said.

China is considering offering favourable treatment to other vehicle technologies including petrol-electric hybrid vehicles, as a way to diversify environmental friendly vehicles amid a broader push to go green. ($1 = 7.0631 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Editing by Stephen Coates and Mark Potter)