Qingling Motors Co, riding on the success of a new model of Japan's Isuzu light duty trucks, saw its net profit surge 140 per cent to 426.28 million yuan (about HK$395.97 million) last year. The results, which bucked the trend of other H-share companies, showed the light-duty truck-maker bouncing back after its earnings plunged 66 per cent in the previous year. The company yesterday said turnover rose 16.7 per cent to 3.92 billion yuan, with operating margin improving to 14.2 per cent from 6.9 per cent in 1995. Analysts said Qingling's earnings were also aided by an absence of foreign exchange loss, which weighed down earnings in 1995. Earnings per share were 21 fen. A final dividend of 10 fen would be paid. Last year, Qingling sold 34,500 cars, 15 per cent more than in 1995, expanding market share to 24 per cent from 21.5 per cent, although the national car market made a slow recovery. The new model of 100P trucks of the N series became the company's main earner, accounting for 90 per cent of sales volume, compared with 57 per cent in the previous year. Qingling said domestic content ratio rose to 67 per cent from 60 per cent, which helped lower production and increased its profitability. This year, the company plans to produce and sell 36,000 to 38,000 cars, up 4 to 10 per cent from a year ago. BZW Asia said Qingling's costs would be further reduced this year due to improving domestic content ratio and an expected weaker yen against the US dollar. Assuming sales volume of 38,500 cars, the brokerage expected the company to record a net profit of 614 million yuan for this year. Qingling will introduce new TFR pick-up trucks in the domestic market this year and it wants to achieve scale production next year. The company said the 100P model and the TFR trucks would become its two major products. To improve its profitability, it would adjust the sales mix of the two products. BZW expected Qingling's new pick-up trucks would secure market demand because of their low cost, enabling the company to dominate the market. It said TFR trucks would share production facilities with 100P to make components, leaving imported components to account for 30 per cent of the cost of the pick-up trucks.