SHANGHAI -- China's Geely Automobile Holdings said on Wednesday that first-half net profit dropped 40 percent amid a sustained downturn in the world's biggest auto market, and it forecast an uncertain outlook for vehicle demand for the rest of the year.
Geely posted a net profit of 4.01 billion yuan ($566 million), compared to the 6.67 billion yuan ($944 million) it made in the same period a year earlier.
UOB analyst Kenneth Lee had expected Geely to report a 4.78-billion-yuan ($676.5 million) profit for the period, according to Refinitiv data.
Profit in the first half "was negatively affected by higher discounts and incentives to reduce dealers' inventories ahead of the official implementation of China 6 emission standards in some areas," Geely said in the filing, referring to a stricter vehicle emissions standard China implemented in July.
Total revenue for the first half was 47.56 billion yuan, ($6.7 billion) down from 53.71 billion yuan over the same period in 2018, the company said.
Geely sold 651,680 vehicles in the January-June period, around 15 percent fewer than the same period last year.
Retail sales volume, however, recorded mild year-over-year growth during the same period, Geely said, adding it plans to launch at least eight new or revamped models in the next 12 months.
China's overall auto sales fell 4.3 percent in July, down for a 13th consecutive month, according to data from the country's top industry body, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Although the Chinese government had started to introduce measures to stimulate automobile demand, the passenger vehicle market in China has shown little sign of improvement. Recently, the China-U.S. trade dispute appears to have worsened further, resulting in more uncertainty for passenger vehicle demand in China in the remainder of the year, the filing said.
Last month, Geely cut its sales target for the year to 1.36 million units from 1.51 million units, seeking to reduce dealers' inventories amid uncertainty in the overall car market.
Geely sold 1.5 million cars last year, 20 percent higher than the figure for 2017.