BYD Auto has reported sales of 176,795 units during the first half of 2009, up 176% over last year.

The company is benefiting from strong sales in China this year, which have also been boosted by new product introductions – including plug-in hybrid models.

The company plans to launch five new models during the year’s second half, including S8, G3, L3, S6 and M6.

The carmaker attributed the sales increase to the government’s initiative to encourage the consumption of small cars via a tax break on cars with an engine displacement under 1.6 litres.

BYD, which has also attracted investment from US investor Warren Buffett, said it aims to double its car sales this year to 400,000 units.