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Chery to expand overseas
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Chinese automaker Chery Automobile Co is ambitious to speed up its global network expansion after stabilizing its foothold in the domestic market.

The Wuhu, Anhui-based auto manufacturer is on track to add six assembly plants outside the mainland this year, boosting its global production network to 15 countries and regions, said Jin Yibo, a spokesman for Chery.

The six destinations will include Taiwan and Thailand in Asia, Syria in Africa and Venezuela in South America, an unnamed executive at Chery told China Daily. The executive did not disclose the other two locations.

"Construction of the assembling facilities in Taiwan, Syria and Thailand have been finished, while the plant in Venezuela is still waiting for local government approval," the executive said.

Chery's A3 compact car recently rolled off the production line in Taiwan, and the company will officially launch the model in a few days on the island, the executive said.

Production also started recently in Thailand on Chery's QQ mini-car, the source said.

The company will bring more models to Syria for local production, including its Tiggo sports utility vehicle (SUV) and A3 compact, targeting African markets.

As the most successful Chinese carmaker in the international market, Chery has introduced its vehicles to more than 60 countries and regions in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.

Last week, the company officially announced the debut of its business operations in Brazil, with plan to establish 55 dealerships across the country this year.

Luis Curi, president of Chery's Brazil operation, said that Chery hopes to sell as many as 2,500 Tiggo SUVs in Brazil by the end of this year.

Chery spokesman Jin told China Daily that the company will build an assembly plant in Brazil, the world's ninth-largest auto market, in the next three years.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported that in the first seven months of this year, exports of China-made vehicles slumped 60.3 percent over a year ago to 164,800 units as the financial crisis shrank auto demand in markets outside China.

However, Chery still retained its leading position among Chinese automakers with the export of 15,000 units.

Statistics show that in the past three years, Chery contributed more than half of China's exports of homegrown passenger cars.

Analysts said domestic automakers have been smart to begin shifting their focus from product exports to capital outflows, as overseas production might reduce costs, avoid trade barriers and promote Chinese brands in the international market.

Last month, China's Chang'an Auto reported it would invest more than $80 million in South Africa to establish a production plant and a financing company in the next five years.

JAC Motors also said in July that it would establish a manufacturing base in Brazil.

(China Daily August 26, 2009)

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