Geely beats top three Japanese carmakers

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 23, 2018.
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BEIJING: Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd has surpassed its top three Japanese rivals to become the third-largest carmaker in China, helped by models that appeal to the nation’s young consumers.

The carmaker, reporting a 54% jump in net income for the six months through June, said in a filing yesterday, sales this year will beat its target of 1.58 million units.

Geely now trails only Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co in China, after overtaking Nissan Motor Co, Honda Motor Co and Toyota Motor Corp in the period.

Geely, controlled by billionaire Li Shufu, is among Chinese carmakers seeking to dominate the car industry as newer technologies such as electrification and automation define the future of transportation.

“In view of an even stronger new products pipeline ahead, the group should be in a good position to secure higher market share in China’s passenger vehicle market soon,” Geely said in its filing.

The mainland market share of the Hong Kong-listed company increased to 6.4% in the first half of this year, from 5% in 2017. It sold 766,730 vehicles in the period, beating Nissan’s 720,447. Geely sold 1.25 million vehicles in 2017.

Li has also been active overseas, expanding his car empire. After his purchase of Volvo Cars in 2010 from Ford Motor, he snapped up stakes in the iconic British sports-car maker Lotus Cars and Malaysia’s Proton Holdings Bhd. In February this year, he disclosed a 9.7% stake in Daimler AG, emerging as the largest shareholder in the maker of Mercedes-Benz. — Bloomberg