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Buffett-backed electric automaker outsells its Chinese start-up rivals

BYD’s total sales of battery-powered electric passenger cars dropped 11 percent in 2020.

Chinese automaker BYD is selling far more luxury electric sedans a month than the leading start-ups in the country, even though sales of electric passenger cars dropped 11% in 2020.

BYD is backed by American billionaire Warren Buffett. The automaker said on Tuesday that sales of battery-powered electric passenger cars dropped 11% to 130,970 units last year. Total sales, including that of commercial and oil-fueled vehicles, dropped 7.46%.

However, sales improved in December, with that of battery-powered and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles increasing over 150% from the same month in 2019 to 27,594 units.

Sales of BYD’s “Han” electric car have also boosted every month since the July launch to surpass 10,000 units in November. December statistics weren’t available.

In late September, the automaker said it delivered 4,000 units of the new luxury electric sedan in August, and that orders had topped 40,000 during that time. The vehicle comes in both pure electric and plug-in hybrid versions.

At these sales levels, the “Han” model alone is selling just as well as electric automobiles from Chinese automaker Nio, and better than that of other start-ups Li Auto and Xpeng.

The best performer of the three, Nio, said deliveries more than doubled last year to 43,728 vehicles, with a monthly high of over 7,000 units in December. Nio plans to unveil its first sedan on Saturday.

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