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Gasoline fuels comeback for China’s electric car maker BYD

By Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada

SHANGHAI, Aug 25 (Reuters) – BYD Co Ltd , the Warren Buffett-backed company best known for electric cars, is in the midst of a revival thanks to traditional gasoline-fueled vehicles.

Its car sales jumped 25 percent to more than 250,000 units in the first six months of this year, outpacing China’s overall auto market growth rate of 11 percent. The vast majority of those were gasoline-powered, not electric.

The recovery in gasoline car sales, which account for half of BYD’s revenues, has raised investors’ hopes that the company is once again starting to live up to the promise that attracted big-name backers such as Buffett.

Profits from those gasoline cars, as well as from selling batteries for mobile phones and other handheld devices, can be funneled into expensive research and development of electric cars, solar panels and other futuristic green technologies.

Shenzhen-based BYD said on Sunday its first-half net profit rose to 426.9 million yuan ($69.74 million), well ahead of the 16.3 million yuan it earned in the same period a year earlier, helped by strong auto sales and an improvement in its solar cell business.

To be sure, it is too early to tell if the latest results mark the start of a sustained recovery.



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