BYD Sales to Miss Target by a Wide Margin

At the beginning of this year, BYD Auto set the goal of doubling its 2009 sales to 0.8 million units in 2010, confident that the astounding growth–more than 100% year-on-year–it had enjoyed in the past few years will continue. Yet, the overall market has been slowing down in the past three months, and BYD has underachieved.

Newly released data confirmed that June was slow-moving. 35,400 BYD new cars were sold, down 21% from May. For the first half-year, its sales totaled 289,000 units, accounting for only 36% percent of the targeted annual volume. Sales of F3, BYD’s best-selling model, dropped 35% from May to 12,336 units.

Although not alone in danger of missing sales targets–about half of the carmakers did not finish 50% of projected annual sales at the end of June, BYD’s performance was one of the worst–measured by the percentage by which the target is missed.

Chery has a more conservative goal–700,000 units for 2010, about 20% more than last year–but surpassed BYD with 308,933 units delivered in the first six months.

Usually, more cars are sold in the second half of a year than in the first. But the market trend seen so far this year provides no assurance that sales will pick up in the coming months. Even if they will, BYD will face an insurmountable task: delivering an average of 80,000 units in each month from July to December, doubling its monthly sales in the first half-year.

All the hope now hinges upon the four all-new cars to be released before the year-end: S6, its first SUV, M6, its first MPV, and L3 and I6 sedans. Judging from what we presently know about them, we do not see a best-seller coming.

BYD has made its name known–and shares rise–mainly through showcasing its electric vehicles, and yet been unable to start volume production of either the e6 all-electric or the F3DM plug-in hybrid.