BYD Co. a Chinese automaker that is partly owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, has expressed its intention to refocus from dwindling electric car sales towards the introduction of plug-in hybrid SUVs this year.
The Shenzhen, China-based company wants to cater for a broader range of clients, as they search for roomier and high-clearance vehicles and announced it started taking reservations for the 300,000-yuan ($48,000) Tang SUV – a model named after seventh-century dynasty that directed China for almost three centuries. The dynasty references will be maintained further along the range, with the company envisioning a strategy with another two plug-in sport utility vehicles introduced this year, named after the successive Song and Yuan dynasties. If you know history, you already know that a third upcoming SUV would be titled Ming and has been introduced for sometimes later. BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu said “we will stick to the direction of plug-in hybrids.”
Wang initially founded BYD as a battery and handset-component maker but has been initially attracted by the prospects of selling battery-operated electric cars but has also began to recently add plug-in electric vehicles such as the Qin because of slow demand and a lack of charging stations in China. While alternative-energy vehicles have government support through subsidies and exemptions from license-plate registration fees and usage restrictions in numerous Chinese cities, the sales have been lagging the official targets each year. According to the China Passenger Car Association, minivans and SUVs remained last year the fastest-rising auto segments as passenger-vehicle deliveries tallied 18.9 million units.