October 26, 2018 / 10:26 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Great Wall Motor posts record sales drop as China car market stalls

(Recasts; adds Q3 sales figure, milestone)

By Yilei Sun and Adam Jourdan

BEIJING/SHANGHAI, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Chinese carmaker Great Wall Motor Co Ltd reported a record quarterly sales drop and tumbling profit on Friday, amid a sharp slowdown in the world’s largest auto market that has spooked automakers and dealers alike.

Great Wall’s revenue plunged in July-September by close to 20 percent, its steepest-ever quarterly drop, while net profit for the period was down 50 percent, the carmaker said in a filing to the Shanghai stock exchange.

The result underscores how once red-hot sales of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are cooling as consumers in China’s smaller cities - a key battleground for Great Wall - rein in spending on once popular models like the firm’s Haval 6.

Great Wall, which has a joint venture in China with Germany’s BMW to build electric versions of the Mini, said profit reached 231 million yuan ($33.26 million) in July-September, versus 460 million yuan in the same period last year.

Revenue in the quarter dropped 19 percent to 18 billion yuan, from 22.2 billion yuan a year earlier.

For the nine months through September, net profit rose 36.36 percent on revenue which grew 5.1 percent.

The Baoding-based carmaker is likely to miss its full-year sales target of 1.16 million vehicles, having sold 58 percent of that goal at September-end. It sold 1.06 million vehicles last year.

China’s overall car sales fell 11.6 percent in September, the steepest monthly decline in nearly seven years and stoking concerns of the market contracting this year for the first time in decades. ($1 = 6.9445 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Yilei Sun in Beijing and Adam Jourdan in Shanghai; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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