March 22, 2019 / 1:28 PM / 6 months ago

China's Great Wall 2018 net profit up 3.58 percent, pledges higher-end products

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Great Wall Motor Co Ltd said on Friday its 2018 net profit rose 3.58 percent, even as China’s economy slows and competition gets fiercer.

Great Wall, China’s top sports-utility vehicle (SUV) maker and BMW’s local partner, reported full-year net profit of 5.21 billion yuan ($776.16 million), up from the previous year’s 5.03 billion yuan.

Total revenue for the year was 99.23 billion yuan, down from 101.17 billion yuan in 2017, it said.

The Baoding-based carmaker sold 1.04 million units last year, down by 1.6 percent compared with a year earlier. Its popular models include China’s best-selling SUV Haval H6 and the Wingle series of pickup trucks. Great Wall has said it aims to sell 1.2 million vehicle this year.

Great Wall will phase out more low-end products, and gradually increase the proportion of newly launched models, company said, adding product prices have moved to higher levels.

“With the gradual liberalization of foreign-invested shares in joint ventures and tariff reductions on imported cars, the competition between local brands and international car brands will become more intense, and market share will be further concentrated due to changes in market competition” the company said.

Great Wall agreed with BMW last year to set up a joint venture for their planned production of electric Mini vehicles.

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh in Beijing, editing by Louise Heavens

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