Geely to drive up exports as sales at home slow
Faced with slowing car sales at home, Geely Automobile plans to boost exports in the second half of the year, while rival carmaker Great Wall Motor says it may fall short of its sales target for the year.
Geely, whose privately held parent firm Zhejiang Geely Group last year acquired Sweden's Volvo Car from Ford, said export sales rose 93 per cent in the first six months to 13,385 cars. That compared to less-than-stellar 6 per cent growth in domestic sales, which rose to 199,996 units.
Exports will 'be very important for Geely' in the second half of the year, chief executive Gui Shengyue said yesterday.
Executives said the company planned to export more than 5,000 units a month in the fourth quarter of the year, up from around 3,000 units per month in July and August and an average 2,200 units per month in the first half.
Geely's top five export markets in the first half were Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Iraq and Chile.
Its best-selling models in overseas markets were the Englon sub-brand's 'Kingkong' compact sedan, which retails domestically from 53,000 yuan (HK$64,000), and the GLEagle marque's 'Panda' minicar, which sells from 38,000 yuan.
Strong exports should help the company meet its sales target of 480,000 units for the year, representing 15 per cent growth from last year. That comes despite Geely booking total first-half sales 213,381 cars, up 9 per cent from a year earlier.
Seasonality is expected to play a part, too. First-half sales typically account for 45 per cent of the full-year figure, with the remaining 55 per cent coming in the second half of the year, Gui said.
Geely said yesterday that first-half profit rose 17 per cent to 937.65 million yuan, while revenue rose 14 per cent to 10.54 billion yuan.
Meanwhile, Heibei province-based Great Wall said it wouldn't launch price cuts even if it meant sacrificing some sales volumes.
'There is a chance we may fall short of our [500,000 unit] sales target,' chairman Wei Jianjun said yesterday.
'The reason for this is we won't cut prices ... because we need to maintain good profitability.'
Great Wall, the mainland's biggest homegrown manufacturer of SUVs and pickup trucks, expects to 'maintain a reasonable sales volume' even if it falls short of this year's target.
The first batch of the company's newest SUV model, the H6 Hover, is scheduled to start coming off the production line on Thursday. The H6 is one of four new models Great Wall will launch this year following the opening this month of its new plant in Tianjin.
A new model from the popular Voleex line of sedans, the C50, is scheduled to start production next month.
Like Geely, Great Wall is also eyeing exports as a way to weather slowing sales growth at home. Exports to more than 120 countries amounted to 1.84 billion yuan in the first half, accounting for 13.4 per cent of the firm's total revenue.
In terms of revenue by segment, exports of SUVs rose 79 per cent, sedan sales were up 78 per cent and overseas sales of pickups increased 8.1 per cent.
Great Wall's first-half net profit more than doubled, rising 109 per cent from a year ago to 1.81 billion yuan. Sales rose 49.8 per cent to 13.67 billion yuan.
The company says export sales rose by this much in the first six months, selling 13,385 cars