BYD, the electric vehicle and battery maker backed by US billionaire Warren Buffett, has said January vehicle sales volume fell about 15% year on year.

The battery and carmaker sold 52,054 wholesale vehicles in January, down from 61,215 a year ago, the company told Reuters.

Analysts had forecast that rising fuel prices, removal of government subsidies and tighter rules on new car registrations would reduce demand in 2011 after 2010 sales rose 30%.