HONG KONG, Mar. 16 -- Chinese car and battery maker BYD Co, backed by US billionaire investor Warren Buffett, will lift capital expenditure by 58 percent this year, its chairman said, as it embarks on an aggressive expansion plan.
Enjoying speedy growth in China, which overtook the United States to become the world's largest car market last year, BYD is also looking at the overseas markets.
The fast-growing carmaker planned to establish sales headquarters in the United States, paving the way for exports of its E6 electric car to the US market from the second half of 2010, Wang Chuanfu, chairman of BYD and China's richest man, told reporters on Monday.
BYD, which is about 10 percent owned by Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, may also build a manufacturing facility in the United States in the future, Wang said.
"If there is a market, we will not exclude the chance to set up a production plant in the United States."
Having expanded from a rechargeable battery maker into a major carmaker, BYD aimed to become a leading global manufacturer of traditional and new energy vehicles, he said.
A front runner among Chinese carmakers in clean energy vehicles, BYD was upbeat on development and growth for green vehicles and said it planned to sell about 1,000 dual model, F3DM cars in Shenzhen to individual customers this year.
Earlier this month, it agreed to team up with Daimler AG to develop electric cars for the Chinese market.
"Compared with our conventional cars, sales of green cars will remain small and will not make a profit contribution to the group this year," Wang said.
Wang said capital expenditure in 2010 would be about 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), as it sets up new manufacturing facilities to achieve its goal of doubling sales to 800,000 units this year.
In 2009, the company sold 450,000 vehicles, with capital expenditure at 6.3 billion yuan.
The firm's vehicle business is its strongest-performing segment, accounting for more than half of total 2009 revenue and surpassing its rechargeable battery and mobile handset components and assembly businesses.
BYD bought Hunan Midea Coach Manufacturing Co in Changsha last July to expand into the coach and electric bus sector.
The company said it was planning a third vehicle production base in Changsha, and a new plant in Xian, both with planned annual outputs of 400,000 units.
Its shares rose nearly 3 percent to an early high of HK$70.90 ($9.14) after it reported forecast-beating quarterly earnings of 1.46 billion yuan. The stock ended the morning at HK$69.45, up 0.8 percent, while the broader Hang Seng Index was down 0.9 percent.
BYD's shares have risen 1.5 percent so far this year, beating a near 4 percent decline on the broader market.