MELBOURNE -- Holden Ltd., the Australian arm General Motors, said on Friday it expected General Motors' 2004 Asia Pacific profit to exceed $750 million, up from $577 million last year, driven by growth in China.
"Profit wise, we made over half a billion dollars in Asia Pacific last year, we are looking at over three quarters of a billion plus this year," Holden's managing director and chairman, Dennis Mooney, told a conference.
In January, GM, the world's top automaker, said it expected Asia Pacific earnings to grow in the range of $700 million to $800 million in calendar 2004.
GM posted a 58 percent leap in first-half vehicle sales in China to a record 259,653 units after it slashed prices in the world's fastest-growing major car market.
In Australia's A$17 billion ($12 billion) auto industry, Mooney said he expected prices of new cars to fall further as tariffs for imported cars fell and competition increased.
As part of legislation passed last year, imported car tariffs will fall to 10 percent from 15 percent.
Earlier this year, Holden announced it would withdraw the GM Daewoo brand from Australia by the end of 2004 because of intense price competition from Japanese manufacturers.
Holden's biggest rival in the Australian market is Japanese carmaker Toyota Motor Corp., which has a 21.3 percent market share. Holden has an 18.7 percent market share in the Australian market with sales in the first six months of this year at 88,381.