Chinese automaker BYD, backed by Warren Buffett, missed its adjusted 2010 car sales target of 600,000 by 13%, a report said on Jan. 5.
Total sales last year rose 16% from a year ago to 519,806 units but were still shy of the firm's goal, Dow Jones Newswires said, citing company spokeswoman Elva Zhai.
In 2009, the Shenzhen-based company sold 450,000 vehicles in China, a 180% increase from a year earlier.
Officials at BYD were not immediately available for comment on the report.
BYD in August scaled back its 2010 auto sales target by 25% from 800,000 units, after demand fell as growth in the overall China market slowed due to a removal of government stimulus measures for car purchases.
The company was also affected by a loss of car dealers from its network, allegedly in protest at draconian business terms and rising competition from foreign car brands tapping into the low-end market, earlier media reports said.
Buffett thrust BYD, which began as a manufacturer of rechargeable lithium-ion and nickel batteries, into the international spotlight when he bought a 9.89% stake in the company in 2008 for $230 million.
The "Oracle of Omaha" also handed celebrity-level endorsement to BYD in September last year by bringing Bill Gates with him to a number of media events the company organized in several Chinese cities. At one of those events, Buffett described BYD as a "young and energetic" company, and said he believed it would play an important role in the future of new energy technology.
BYD's profits plunged 99% on-year to 11.34 million yuan (US$1.7 million) in the third quarter of 2010 mainly due to its weakening auto business and squeezed margins amid intensifying competition for its battery division.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011