Manufacturing News

SAIC warns market outlook remains 'grim'

SAIC Motor Corp., China's largest automaker, warned on Thursday of a grim outlook for the country's vehicle market in the second half of the year, as the slowest economic growth in 25 years and a downturn in the stock market discourage buyers.

Vehicle sales in China, the world's largest car market, rose a meager 0.4 percent in the first seven months and are predicted to grow 3 percent this year, less than half the 2014 growth rate, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said.

The forecast by SAIC, which has joint ventures with Volkswagen AG and General Motors, in addition to making its own brand of vehicles, follows similar warnings of a slowdown in sales from several automakers.

"In the short term, although the domestic market situation in the second half of the year remains grim, following the macro economy's stabilized recovery, there are still structural growth opportunities," the company said in its earnings statement.

SAIC expects overall sales of passenger and commercial vehicles in China will total 24.1 million this year, a slight increase from 2014. It did not elaborate.

For the first half, SAIC said its net profit rose 4.4 percent year-on-year to 14.2 billion yuan ($2.2 billion).

The Shanghai-based automaker's revenue also increased 1.1 percent to 323 billion yuan from a year earlier on flat first-half vehicle sales.

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