April 7, 2017 12:30 am JST

SAIC Motor profit rises, but sales gain trails market growth

Chinese automaker sells nearly 6.5m vehicles in 2016

WATARU KODAKA, Nikkei staff writer

SHANGHAI -- SAIC Motor enjoyed growth in both net and operating profit for 2016, but the Chinese state-owned automaker's increase in unit sales fell short of the overall domestic market expansion.

Net profit for the year ended in December rose 7% to 32 billion yuan ($4.64 billion), the company said, while operating profit climbed 11% to 48.4 billion yuan. Sales increased 13% to 756.4 billion yuan.

SAIC Motor's unit sales rose 10% to 6.49 million, including joint venture brands with foreign manufacturers, but this gain failed to keep pace with the 14% market expansion.

The company's brand under the venture with Germany's Volkswagen raised sales 10% to 2 million units, while a venture with U.S. automaker General Motors increased sales 8% to 1.89 million units. Sales of passenger vehicles from SAIC's own brands soared 89% to about 320,000 units. Sport utility vehicles fared especially well, with a 43% increase.

Sales growth slowed to just 3% on the year for the recently ended January-March quarter, as tax benefits for purchases of compact vehicles were scaled down. China accounts for 96% of the automaker's overall sales, so overseas expansion is a challenge going forward.

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