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Auto Earnings Accelerating
Profits of major Chinese automakers are continuing their upward trend, boosted by a bullish domestic vehicle market.

According to statistics from the State Economic and Trade Commission (SETC), 15 key State-owned automakers earned a total of 12.90 billion yuan (US$1.55 billion) in profits in the first eight months of this year, an increase of 37.60 percent over comparable figures for the same period last year.

In August alone, their profits reached 2.33 billion yuan (US$280.72 million), up from 2.01 billion yuan (US$240.30 million) in July, statistics indicated.

"The continuing profit growth was mainly generated by strong sales, especially of passenger cars and heavy-duty trucks," SETC said.

Total sales of domestically made vehicles during the first eight months this year increased by 32.19 per cent year-on-year to 2.08 million units, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Passenger car sales stood at 638,200 units for the period, an increase of 42.60 per cent over figures for the same period a year earlier, the association said. Sales of heavy-duty trucks rose by 103.31 per cent to 175,051 units for the period year-on-year.

"However, prospects for the sector's continuing profits are not so rosy, because there are still some big manufacturers in the red," said Jia Xingaung, chief analyst with the China National Automotive Industry Consulting and Development Corp.

The automakers with reductions in profits include Beijing Automotive Industry Corp, Tianjin Automotive Industry Corp and Nanjing-based Yuejin Automobile Group, Jia said.

"It is hard for these automakers to turn to profitability in the short term due to their deeply ingrained problems in management and product offerings," he said in an interview with China Daily yesterday.

(China Daily September 25, 2002)

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