Great Wall Motor, the nation's largest sports utility vehicle maker, will focus on producing low-emission passenger cars after it reported net profit grew a mere 0.5 per cent to 408 million yuan (HK$466.58 million) in the first half. The Hebei-based company, which is expected to be hit by increased consumption tax in the second half, reported a 37.9 per cent rise in revenue to 4.61 billion yuan in the period. No interim dividend will be declared. Great Wall, which produces mainly 3-litre to 4-litre SUVs and pick-up trucks, will be the hardest-hit carmaker as the government implements higher consumption tax for vehicles with 3-litre to 4-litre engines as a way to combat the country's pollution problems. Vehicles with 4.1 litre or greater engines will be taxed at 40 per cent of the retail price, up from 20 per cent. Vehicles with 3- to 4-litre engines will be taxed at 25 per cent, up from 15 per cent. Great Wall sold 65,675 vehicles in the first half, up 37.8 per cent year on year. The country's carmakers have yet to release official data for last month's sales, which are expected next week. However, some manufacturers have already said they experienced slower sales last month because of the Beijing Olympics and a weaker economy. Dongfeng Motor Group, the country's third-largest carmaker, yesterday said its passenger car sales fell 6.2 per cent in August from a year earlier. It sold 50,989 cars last month, down from 54,354 units a year earlier. The firm gave no explanation for the sudden drop in sales after years of double-digit growth. Its total vehicle sales fell 11.2 per cent last month to 69,767 units versus 78,539 a year ago. Lehman Brothers, in an earlier report, said that mainland passenger car sales were expected to drop 10 per cent last month from a year earlier as the Olympics and weakening consumer confidence kept buyers from showrooms. However, luxury brands were not affected. Sales of BMW, the joint-venture partner of Liaoning's Brilliance China, surged 61 per cent last month to 5,523 vehicles, led by the 3-Series and 5-Series sedans. Liu Guoqiang, vice-governor of Liaoning, on Thursday said the joint venture would double manufacturing capacity to 80,000 units after the yet-to-start expansion. He said the expansion work might begin as early as this year. Luxury carmakers including BMW and Volkswagen's Audi have added new models and raised production on the mainland, the second-largest car market in the world, as its surging economy boosts demand for premium sedans.