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UPDATE 1-China's top pickup truck maker Great Wall posts 24.5% profit fall

(Adds more details, industry background)

BEIJING, Aug 28 (Reuters) - China’s top pickup truck maker Great Wall Motor Co Ltd posted a 24.5% drop in first-half profit on Friday as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world’s biggest auto market.

The Baoding-based company, which has a joint venture with German luxury automaker BMW, said in a stock exchange filing it reported a 1.15 billion yuan ($167.53 million) net profit in the first half, down from a 1.52 billion yuan profit a year earlier.

Revenue for the first half fell 13% to 35.93 billion yuan.

China’s overall auto sales are slowly recovering from a virus-blighted start to the year.

Sales in July climbed for a fourth consecutive month yet are still down 12.7% year to date.

Great Wall sold almost 400,000 vehicles in the first six months this year, down 13% from a year earlier.

Its sales of pickup trucks surged 38% due to new P-series models while sport-utility vehicle sales tumbled 20%.

Great Wall agreed to buy two plants in India and Thailand from General Motors and expects those transactions to be completed this year.

Rival Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd reported a 43% profit slide in the first half.

$1 = 6.8644 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; editing by David Evans and Jason Neely