China’s largest auto maker by sales volume said 2012 was its slowest year for profit growth since 2008, owing to intense competition in the mainland auto market, The Wall Street Journal reported. SAIC Motor (600104.SH), the Chinese joint venture partner of General Motors (GM.NYSE) and Volkswagen (VOW.FRA, VOW.ETR), reported that profits grew 2.6% to US$3.34 billion (RMB 20.75 billion). That fell below the consensus analyst expectation of US$3.47 billion, according to Dow Jones Newswires. SAIC Motor Corp said it sold 4.49 million cars in 2012 (including vehicles sold with its Western partners), up 12% from a year earlier. However, margins were much lower due to intense competition in the market.