China Watch : SAIC Motor Q1 net profit more than quadruples, 9th April, 2010

SAIC Motor Corp, China’s biggest automaker, said on Friday its first-quarter net profit rose to more than four times from the year-ago result while March vehicle sales jumped 58 percent from a year earlier, boosted by Government steps to bolster car purchases.

SAIC, which runs car manufacturing ventures with General Motors and Volkswagen, gave no figure for its estimated first-quarter financial results, but said it posted a first-quarter net profit of 626.94 million yuan ($91.9 million) in the year-ago period. The company is scheduled to release its full first-quarter earnings report on April 28.

Its March vehicle sales rose to 336,387 units, while sales for the first quarter were up 64 percent from a year earlier at 891,795 units.

The company, which aims to sell more than 3 million vehicles this year after a 57.2 percent surge last year to 2.73 million, has benefited from Government incentives aimed at bolstering the industry and encouraging purchases of fuel-efficient automobiles.

SAIC said on Thursday that it also plans to roll out its first self-developed hybrid car this year, followed by a plug-in hybrid car in 2012.

China overtook the United States last year as the world’s largest auto market, with sales surging 53 percent as most major global markets continued to struggle with the fallout of the financial crisis. Sales continued to rise at a brisk pace in the first two months of this year.

Analysts have forecast strong profit growth for SAIC this year, bolstered as well by consolidating its previous 50-50 joint venture with General Motors on its books after boosting its stake to a majority.


Clive Goldthorp

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