Beijing Auto unit eyes European assets

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Beijing Automotive Group Co, which manufactures vehicles with Daimler AG and Hyundai Motor Co in China, has started a unit to spearhead acquisitions abroad, starting with Europe.

"We will do everything in our power to explore overseas markets," Beijing Auto Chairman Xu Heyi said over the weekend. "Establishment of this unit puts us at a new historical threshold."

The carmaker plans to have 2.5 billion yuan (US$408 million) of profit from abroad with a sales target of 400,000 units by 2020. Newly set-up BAIC International Development Co will be in charge of overseas acquisitions and investment as well as boosting international vehicle and parts sales, said Dong Haiyang, the unit's president.

BAIC International is seeking targets in Europe, and investment banks have found three medium-size automakers with "good brand image," Dong said. "We want to acquire such mid-sized brands in Europe ... so we can use their facilities as a production base to expand there."

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