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China's SAIC Motor first-half net profit up 46%
by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) Aug 29, 2011

China's largest auto maker SAIC Motor said Monday that first half net profit jumped 46 percent but warned of future "uncertainties" in the world's biggest car market.

The company, which has joint ventures with US auto giant General Motors and German's Volkswagen, earned 8.58 billion yuan ($1.34 billion) in the first six months, up from 5.87 billion yuan the same period a year ago.

First half revenue rose 24.6 percent on the year to 183.9 billion yuan, the company said in a report filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

SAIC sold 2.01 million vehicles in the first half of the year, up 12.9 percent from a year earlier. It gave no forecast for its full-year sales for 2011.

However, the company sounded a note of caution over the outlook for China's auto market, which overtook the United States in 2009 to become the world's largest.

"There are many uncertainties in the macro-economy, particularly variables in the recovery of the global economy," the company said in the report.

"The domestic inflation situation remains severe and a quick pick-up in consumer confidence is unlikely, which will negatively impact China's auto market," it said.

China's inflation hit a more than three-year high in July as the consumer price index rose 6.5 percent.

SAIC forecast China's domestic vehicle sales will grow 3.6 percent year on year in 2011 to around 19 million units, marking a strong slowdown from the 32 percent annual growth in 2010.

A record 18.06 million autos were sold in China last year.

But the auto sector has lost steam since Beijing phased out sales incentives such as tax breaks for small-engine vehicles, originally introduced to ward off the impact of the global financial crisis.

For the January-July period, auto sales rose 3.2 percent to 10.6 million vehicles, according to figures from industry group the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

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