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April 22, 2005

CHINA: Ford partner posts steep Q1 earnings drop

Chongqing Changan Auto Co. Ltd., Ford's main Chinese partner, was reported to have posted a near 50% drop in first-quarter earnings on Friday as it battles intense competition in a crowded and slowing market.

Chongqing Changan Auto Co. Ltd., Ford’s main Chinese partner, was reported to have posted a near 50% drop in first-quarter earnings on Friday as it battles intense competition in a crowded and slowing market.

According to Reuters, Changan Auto, the country’s largest minivan maker and fourth-largest car manufacturer, posted net profit of 201.58 million yuan ($US24.35 million) for the January to March period compared with 391.59 million yuan in the same quarter of 2004.

Turnover reportedly fell 4.3% to 4.55 billion yuan as the company, which also makes compact cars with Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp (7269.T), struggled with an industry slowdown.

Changan Auto, a former military-run auto parts supplier, told Reuters it had sold 123,618 units in the first quarter, down 4.5% year on year, although its output rose 15.5% to 130,059 units – average profit margins for its minivans and sedans fell to 21.5% in the period from 24.7% in the same quarter of 2004.

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