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UPDATE 2-China's Jiangling Motors net jumps on record sales

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SHANGHAI, Aug 23 (Reuters) - China's Jiangling Motors Co Ltd , of which Ford Motor Co owns nearly 30 percent, said on Friday its first-half net profit surged 85 percent year as sales of its light trucks and minivans hit a record.

The introduction of a new pickup and lower costs also helped net profit rise to 130 million yuan ($16 million), Jiangling said in a 2002 interim results report.

It forecast second-half revenue at 1.9-2.0 billion yuan, versus 2.02 billion yuan in the first half, and projected cumulative net profit for the first nine months of 2002 would be more than 50 percent higher than the same period last year.

"Higher marketing and sales efforts are also in the plan to maintain competitiveness and increase market shares for our products," Jiangling's statement said.

Its Shenzhen-listed B shares, open to foreigners, rose 0.64 percent to HK$4.72 in morning trade, outperforming the underlying index which edged 0.02 percent lower.

U.S. auto giant Ford Motor Co owns 29.96 percent of Jiangling, based in China's central province of Jiangxi.

The Chinese auto maker said it sold a record 24,968 light trucks, minivans, pickups and minibuses in the first six months, up 30 percent year on year.

The increase was mainly from the launch of a new Baodian pickup, Jiangling said. It also sold 3,767 Ford Transit minibuses, up 14 percent from a year ago after a price cut.

Many Chinese producers have cut prices this year to protect sales after the country lowered auto import tariffs as part of its World Trade Organisation commitments.

The price cuts spurred demand in one of the world's fastest growing auto markets, but also squeezed company margins.

"Higher net profit can be attributed to higher sales volume, lower production cost per unit and lower financing cost," Jiangling said.

"Higher profit was partly offset by price reductions, higher marketing and sales expenses and higher administrative expenses."

The report said the figures were unaudited and compiled under domestic accounting standards.

Under international accounting standards, Jiangling said 2002 interim net profit was 125.10 million yuan, but gave no comparative figure. It said last year that pre-tax interim profit was 31.07 million yuan. ($1=8.276 Yuan)