Chinese automaker Geely says it’s on track to meet output target despite 2019 profit miss

Employees operate on an Emgrand 7 series assembly line at the Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. factory in Cixi, Zhejiang Province, China, on 21 June, 2012.

Qilai Shen

Chinese carmaker Geely Automobile said it was expecting business to recover in the near-term after a disappointing year as the country’s auto industry battled lockdowns due to coronavirus and U.S.-China trade tariffs.

Daniel Li, vice chairman and executive director of the Hangzhou-headquartered company, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” the company will be ramping up production to fulfill 40,000 car orders over the coming weeks and is on track to meet its annual output target of 1.4 million cars.

“In March, we have seen some good signals for recoveries from our dealer shop visits and also the orders we have received,” Li said Tuesday. 

“Looking at the year 2020, although we see a significant impact from the coronavirus, we still believe we will deliver the annual target which is 1.4 million cars,” he continued. “It’s 40,000 cars more than the year before.” 

Geely disappointed investors Monday after recording a 35% drop in profits, which totaled $1.15 billion for 2019.

Li said the dip was driven by “significant challenges” in the Chinese auto market, as well as the current coronavirus pandemic. However, he moved to assure investors that the company has “good inventories of key components” and strong cash reserves to move forward in 2020. 

Despite the company’s earnings miss, it increased dividend payouts from 22% to 27% for the year 2019. 

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