Geely reports profit increase

Geely
Automobile Holdings, the listed arm of China’s biggest private carmaker, has
reported a 52 per cent rise in profits and issued an upbeat outlook.

It
said full-year net profit increased to 1.32bn yuan ($193m; £125m) in 2009, with
car sales up 60 per cent to 326,710.

The
carmaker anticipates sales growth of 22 per cent this year, helped by
incentives from China’s government.

Its
results come days after its parent company signed a deal to buy Volvo from US
car giant Ford for $1.8bn.

Geely
Auto achieved record sales of 326,700 in 2009 – 60 per cent higher than a year
earlier. But it is still a small player in its home country, having 4 per cent
of passenger car sales in China.

The
group said it had undergone a three-year “strategic transformation”
and said it would introduce “a large number of new models” this year
and open two new factories.

“2010
should be a very fruitful year for the group provided that demand for sedans
[passenger cars] in China would remain strong during the period,” the
company said.

China
is a rare bright spot in the automotive world, having overtaken the US as the
world’s biggest market in 2009.

Car
sales in China rose to 7.47 million last year, up by almost 50 per cent on 2008,
assisted by stimulus measures by its government, which included significant
cuts in sales tax for small cars.

General
Motors has said that it anticipates selling more than three million vehicles in
China by 2015, and predicts it will sell more than two million cars this year.

The
US car giant plans to release 25 new or upgraded models in China this year and
next, according to Kevin Wale, president and managing director of GM’s China
operations

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