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BYD plans to cut its sales force by about 70%, a Chinese website and other news sources said, after the company reported a nearly 90% drop in first-half profits.

About 1,000 people in BYD’s sales arm would be asked to resign initially, with the ultimate goal of cutting the headcount to 800, from 2,600, said on Tuesday, citing unnamed BYD employees, according to Reuters.

A mid-level executive at BYD told Reuters the initial layoff target was as much as 1,600 people, but the timing of the planned cuts was not clear.

Further layoffs in other departments were possible, the website said.

Several BYD executives contacted by Reuters either declined to comment or could not be reached.

BYD, 10% owned by US investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, reported an 89% plunge in net income in the first half, lagging domestic rivals.

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By GlobalData

State auto group SAIC Motor Corp Ltd reported a 46% jump in earnings during the period, while Geely Automobile Holdings said net income rose 17%.

Xia Zhibin, head of the BYD’s sales unit, resigned earlier in the month citing personal reasons. Analysts said slumping sales were likely to have played a part in the move.

BYD sold 259,915 vehicles in the first seven months, down 19.3% year on year.