April 25, 2013 / 9:42 AM / 5 years ago

SAIC Motor Q1 profit up 11 pct on solid sales

BEIJING, March 25 (Reuters) - SAIC Motor Corp, China’s largest automaker by sales, reported an 11 percent rise in first-quarter earnings, on solid vehicle sales amid a recovering economy.

SAIC, which has ventures with General Motors Co and Volkswagen AG VOWG-p.DE, made 6.2 billion yuan ($1.00 billion) from January to March, up from 5.61 billion yuan a year earlier. That compared with the average forecast of 4.57 billion yuan in a Thomson Reuters poll of from 14 analysts.

Last month, Volkswagen, which sells more cars in China than any other foreign firm, announced a recall of 384,181 vehicles to fix a long-standing gearbox problem after it was named in a state-run TV’s annual investigative special on corporate malpractice. The recall included imported Volkswagen cars as well as cars made at the German automaker’s ventures with SAIC and FAW Group.

Sales at Volkswagen’s venture with SAIC rose 28 percent to 408,930 in the first three months, contributing to nearly a third of SAIC’s overall sales which gained 17 percent during the period, company data showed.

SAIC, which focuses mostly on the domestic market, is also facing growing competition from much smaller rivals such as Great Wall Motor, whose earnings have been bolstered by its export business.

$1 = 6.1781 Chinese yuan Reporting by Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada in SHANGHAI, and Fang Yan in BEIJING; Editing by Matt Driskill

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