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EV colossus BYD’s first-quarter profit jumps fivefold

Chinese electric vehicle giant BYD posted a fivefold jump in its first-quarter profit on Thursday as the company consolidated its leadership in the domestic market.

Net profit for the first three months of the year was 4.13 billion yuan (roughly R10.9bn), up 410.9% from 808.41 million yuan (roughly R2.13bn) a year earlier, on revenue up 79.8% at 120.17 billion yuan (roughly R317.1bn), the company said in a stock market filing.

The Shenzhen-based company, whose investors include Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, outsold Volkswagen-branded cars in the first quarter of this year in China, according to a Reuters analysis of data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Buoyed by its Dynasty and Ocean series of plug-in hybrids and pure electric cars, BYD sold 552,076 new energy vehicles in the first quarter, a surge of 92.81% year on year, according to the company.

The company sold more than 1.86 million vehicles in 2022, mostly in China.

BYD has joined many other Chinese brands in a price war started by Tesla, with the offering of discounts for its Song Plus and Seal EVs in March.

The price cuts have eaten into automakers’ earnings, with Tesla reporting a 24% plunge in first-quarter net income.

Last week, BYD unveiled its Seagull electric hatchback at the Shanghai auto show, stunning visitors with a price from just 78,000 yuan (roughly R205,737) — around half the level of the cheapest new energy vehicles available elsewhere. 

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