China’s BYD unveils luxury sedan amid gloomy outlook

China’s electric carmaker BYD Automobile Co., Ltd. debuted a new luxury sedan model over the weekend as part of the company’s efforts to shift its focus away from the competitive low-end car market.

The G61.5TID DCT sedan is a high-end flagship vehicle powered by the company’s proprietary technology, said Hou Yan, the company’s sales director.

Company sources said BYD is shifting its priority from budget vehicles priced between 40,000 to 60,000 yuan (6,400 to 9,600 U.S. dollars) to mid-range cars priced at 100,000 yuan and more.

China overtook the United States to become the world’s largest auto market in 2009. But the country’s auto sales last year grew by only 2.45 percent year-on-year, the slowest in 13 years.

BYD, based in south China’s city of Shenzhen, saw its profits plunge by 45 percent in 2011. The company said earlier that its profitability might continue to be jeopardized by the dampening of its rechargeable battery and solar businesses.

Net profits in the first quarter of this year will likely fall 65 to 95 percent year-on-year, the company said.

Xinhua