SAIC Motor’s net profit hit 24.53b yuan in 2021, up 20 % year-on-year

China's largest carmaker SAIC Motor announced in its annual financial report released on April 30 that its net profit reached 24.53 billion yuan ($3.67 billion) in 2021, growing by 20 percent year-on-year.

Faced with a number of serious challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, chip shortages, power rationing, and surging raw material prices, SAIC Motor has been sparing no effort to guarantee the stability of supply chains, stabilize growth, and increase its benefits, making a good start for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period.

According to official data, the carmaker achieved steady growth in vehicle sales last year. It sold over 5.46 million vehicles and delivered more than 5.81 million vehicles in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 5.5 percent, ranking first in China for 16 years in a row. SAIC Motor recorded stable and improved economic performance, with its gross revenue reaching 779.85 billion yuan last year, up 5.1 percent year-on-year, while its net profit attributable to shareholders totaled 24.53 billion yuan, growing by 20.1 percent year-on-year. Its return on weighted average equity increased by 1.2 percentage points to 9.2 percent, maintaining strong economic performance.

Official statistics showed that self-branded vehicles, new energy vehicles (NEVs), and vehicle exports have become the main driving forces behind the carmaker’s rapid and sustainable growth last year. It sold nearly 2.86 million self-branded vehicles, a year-on-year growth of 10 percent, and accounted for 52.3 percent of the company’s total sales, exceeding 50 percent for the first time. Sales of NEVs reached 733,000, increasing 128.9 percent year-on-year, ranking first in China and top three globally. SAIC Motor ranked first among Chinese auto companies in overseas sales for the sixth straight year, selling 697,000 vehicles, a rise of 78.9 percent year-on-year.

SAIC Motor will continue to offer its shareholders large amounts of cash dividend payments, with a total of 7.85 billion yuan to be distributed to its shareholders.

In 2021, the carmaker also made great progress in innovative development. IM, an electric car startup jointly established by SAIC Motor, Alibaba and ZJ INNOPARK, saw its first L7 Beta version roll off the assembly line in 2021. SAIC Motor’s SOA (service-oriented architecture) software platform was also implemented and applied. Its R Auto sped up its research and development (R&D) pace of the first pure electric commercial vehicle - R7, and efforts have also been made to promote the integration of software and hardware, and data-driven technologies, to explore new ways to help its products realize self-definition, self-learning, and self-growth.

The first batch of 60 Robotaxi vehicles powered by SAIC Mobility were officially put into operation in Shanghai and Suzhou last year, accelerating the carmaker’s pace in the mass production of L4 autonomous vehicles. Its quasi-commercial operation of a self-developed "5G plus L4" smart heavy truck was put into use at Shanghai’s Yangshan Port, and the artificial intelligence vehicle (AIV), which was developed by SAIC Motor to transfer containers in a smarter way, was put into mass and demonstration operations. The carmaker established YouDaoZhiTu, an intelligent driving technology company focusing on L4 autonomous driving systems for commercial vehicles in ports, factories and logistics companies. L4 means the car can drive by itself without a human driver under most circumstances.

Additionally, the carmaker has also made remarkable achievements in the development of NEVs and intelligent connected vehicles (ICVs).

The carmaker has also sped up its pace in the R&D of new energy technologies, and its new-generation power batteries were put into production last year. Shanghai Hydrogen Propulsion Technology (SHPT), which is one of the “little giant” firms cultivated by SAIC Motor, launched the first fuel cell stack platform in October 2021, with its key parameters ranking among the best in the world. SHPT cooperated with SAIC Motor’s Hongyan Truck and launched the world’s first 10,000-unit class hydrogen heavy-duty truck industry chain project in Erdos in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. SAIC Motor also joined hands with its domestic and foreign partners to promote the R&D and application of solid-state batteries. Through cooperation, the company has also sped up its layout in the fields of energy storage and lithium battery recycling.

With a focus on the next generation of intelligent electric vehicles where "data determines experience and software defines cars", SAIC Motor has been focusing on user experience innovation and promoting changes in product design and business models. Efforts have also been made to conduct a comprehensive layout of the five centers of software development, big data, AI, cloud computing, and cyber security, and a number of advanced achievements have been made by the carmaker in the development of ICVs. Among them, the high-precision electronic map developed by Wuhan Heading Data Intelligence, which is a subsidiary corporation of SAIC Motor, was the first commercial product approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Additionally, the carmaker deepened cooperation with China’s leading chip and auto companies such as Beijing-based chipmaker Horizon Robotics, and local autonomous driving startup Momenta, to push forward the localization of auto chips. As a result, a total of 75 kinds of chips were domestically developed, and have been put into mass production. SAIC Motor also drew up its investment strategy map, and focused on some strategic key areas such as new energy resources, ICVs, and the R&D of chips, which has facilitated the integrated development of industry and finance, as well as empowered its innovation capability.

The carmaker made great efforts to push forward digital transformation in 2021. It continued to promote the construction of the “benchmarking plant”, and SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle Company was included among the fifth batch of the national intelligent manufacturing benchmarking enterprises. Its digital R&D platform was included among the “100 typical cases of digital transformation of State-owned enterprises” by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, and was among the fifth batch of the national industrial design centers.

The carmaker launched its online ride-hailing platform Xiangdao Chuxing in 2018, and over the past three years, the digital service platform has been widely used in cities in the Yangtze River Delta region. It also launched a new taxi-hailing application called “Shen Cheng Chu Xing”, allowing users to rent a taxi with only one click, as it requires no input of destination information. The app has covered more than 40 communities in Shanghai, as well as many public places including hospitals.

SAIC Motor also continued to assist the development of the digital ecosystem. In April 2021, the carmaker held the SAIC Developer Conference, and launched a digital platform that intends to function like Google's Android system for smart mobile phone makers and users. The platform was the first of its kind in the auto industry. SAIC Motor carried out productive cooperation with more than 10 of its partners including Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Huawei and OPPO in areas including intelligent connection networks, cyber and data security, 5G-enabled services, and auto chips, in an effort to create an intelligent and digital ecosystem for vehicles, and pursue a win-win cooperation.

SAIC Motor also responded actively to China’s call to pursue carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals, and it published its new vision, mission, values, and logo in June 2021, indicating its transition to a user-oriented high-tech company. Its new stated value is to be user-oriented and more focused on open partnerships and innovation to achieve more. The company’s new vision is to provide an exciting ride for a green and intelligent future.

In 2021, the carmaker explored new ways to reform its cadre and personnel system, and broadened the channels for talent development. Additionally, it reformed the evaluation and promotion system for its leaders, made greater efforts to train and select outstanding young leaders, and improved the composition of leading bodies and the mix of the ranks of leaders.

The company has cultivated 20 “little giant” firms such as SHPT, Zhiji Motor, R Auto, and Z-One. R Auto achieved independent operation, and SHPT’s spin-off was approved and is expected to go public. It established an incentive and constraint mechanism to encourage the development of innovative enterprises.

In the first quarter of this year, the company’s vehicle sales, operation revenue, net profit and other major economic indicators continued to maintain a leading position in the domestic auto industry. According to official data, it sold 1.22 million vehicles in the January-March period, growing by 6.8 percent year-on-year. The gross revenue reached 182.47 billion yuan in the first three quarters of this year, while the company's net profit attributable to shareholders totaled 5.52 billion yuan.

Since the ongoing outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic in Shanghai, SAIC Motor has shouldered its responsibilities and rushed out to help the city in the battle against the virus. It provided concrete support to meet people's needs, and rushed out and delivered more than 100 special-purpose vehicles for epidemic prevention and control. The carmaker constructed and operated a number of transfer stations for the emergency supplies of important materials in the Yangtze River Delta region, which have helped improve trans-regional logistics networks and maintain the stability and smooth flow of industrial and supply chains. Packages of vegetables, and dozens of epidemic prevention-related materials and products were provided to local residents. Nearly 80,000 SAIC Motor staff members took an active part in volunteer services in Shanghai’s pandemic fight.

While efforts to contain COVID-19 continue in Shanghai, the company’s subsidiary corporations and joint ventures such as SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle Company, SAIC Volkswagen, and Anji Logistics have resumed production to ensure the needs of industrial and supply chains can be met. SAIC Motor’s resumption of production is expected to drive a large number of companies along the manufacturing and industrial chains to resume production.

This year, SAIC Motor will stick to the underlying principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, and promote stable and improved performance in its economic operations. Efforts should be made to tap into the growth potential, capture the market opportunities, continue to optimize the production and marketing structure, forestall and defuse various risks and challenges, and enhance the resilience and quality of economic performance.

The carmaker will make continuous efforts to leverage its unique strength and push forward reform and innovation. It is also ready to promote the construction of major projects, and promote the development of electrification, connectivity and intelligent technologies.

SAIC Motor plans to sell 6 million vehicles this year, a year-on-year growth of more than 10 percent. The sales volume of its self-branded vehicles will see a year-on-year increase of 20 percent or above, and account for more than 50 percent of the carmaker’s total vehicle sales. Sales of its NEVs are expected to exceed 1.1 million, with a growth rate of more than 50 percent. SAIC Motor plans to sell more than 800,000 vehicles in overseas markets this year, with a growth rate of 20 percent or more.

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