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Brilliance beats sales forecast
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Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd said it earned a profit last year as new models helped boost sales.


The Chinese partner of BMW AG sold 300,369 cars last year, beating an earlier forecast of 280,000 units, according to its statement yesterday.


With a 30-percent growth in sales from a year earlier, Shenyang-based Brilliance also recorded sales revenue of 43 billion yuan (US$5.89 billion), an increase of 32 percent year-on-year.


Brilliance, the former light-vehicle specialist making Haise light buses and Jinbei light trucks, began to win more customers after moving into the booming passenger car market with its own nameplate in the world's second-largest auto market.


It launched several new self-branded models last year to boost sales. This included the Zhonghua Junjie sedan, using China's first self-developed 1.8T engine, and the Zhonghua Coupe sports sedan.


Sales of its Zhonghua-branded cars soared 82 percent to 115,000 units last year while exports also rose 79 percent to 15,500 units during the same period.


Brilliance is also adding capacity and expanding overseas to fulfill aggressive targets of doubling sales to 600,000 units by 2010 with revenue topping 100 billion yuan.


In November, the car maker signed a contract to set up its fourth overseas factory in Russia, paving the way for selling more than 100,000 cars in the east European market within five years.


The move follows its deals to export 158,000 Zhonghua Zunchi sedans to Germany and 80,000 Haise light-commercial vehicles to Russia in 2006.


One of Brilliance's car, with pricing planned at US$20,000, is also being certified in the United States before sales launch sometime this year.


Brilliance faced questions about car quality after its Zunchi sedan earned a low-rating from a crash test in Germany.


It improved its technology and received a three-star rating in a follow up test one month later.


(Shanghai Daily January 2, 2008)


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