Record Drop in Sales for Great Wall Motors as Car Market in China Stalls

Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors reported a record sales drop for a quarter and a plunge in profit on Friday, amidst a sharp drop in demand in the largest automobile market in the world that has spooked both automakers and dealerships.

Revenue for the Great Wall plummeted during the July through September quarter by nearly 20%, the steepest-ever drop for a quarter, while its net profit for the same period was down over 50%, said the carmaker on Friday in a filing with the stock exchange in Shanghai.

The results for the quarter underscore how the once white-hot SUV sales are now cooling as the China consumer in smaller cities, an important sales area for Great Wall, pulls back on spending for the once very popular models such as the Haval 6.

Great Wall, which holds a joint venture with BMW in China to build an electric version of the popular Mini, said its profit ended for the quarter at 231 million yuan equal to $33.24 million in its quarter from July through the end of September in comparison to a profit of 460 million yuan or almost double for the same period one year ago.

Revenue for the quarter fell by 19% to just over 18 billion yuan from last year during the same period of 22.2 billion yuan.

For the nine months of 2018 through the end of September, Great Wall’s net profit was up 36.35% while revenue for the same period grew by 5.1%.

The carmaker, based in Baoding, is likely to come up short on its sale target for the full year of more than 1.16 million vehicles after selling just 58% of that annual goal through September. Last year, Great Wall sold just over 1.06 million vehicles.

Overall car sales in China during September fell more than 11.6%, which marked the steepest decline for a month in close to seven years, and helped to spark concerns that the market was contracting in 2018 for the first time in several decades.

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