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Renault Silk Road Expedition Reaches Beijing

After a 67-day drive along the ancient "Silk Road" trading route, Renault's expedition motorcade arrived at its destination in Beijing on Thursday.

The expedition was part of "The French Year in China" series of programs. It also demonstrated the French carmaker's China focus.

Eight Renault trucks and several jeeps crossed 13 countries along the 20,000-kilometer route since they set off from Lyons, France, on April 2.

They also crossed Iran's Lut Desert, Turkmenistan's Karakum Desert, China's Kaklimakan and Tengger deserts.

"The motorcade's arrival opened an intangible but more fluent modern 'silk road' for the communication and cooperation between Beijing and Lyons," said Zhang Mao, the vice mayor of Beijing.

Presenting a 1.2-meter-by-1.2-meter piece of silk embroidered with the expedition colors to the city of Beijing, Gerard Collomb, mayor of Lyons, said the journey commemorates the rich history of this ancient trading route.

"I think Lyons' citizens will never forget the ancient 'Silk Road,' which brought a booming economy, updated knowledge and developed culture to the city," he said.

Bernard Momin described the trip as "great" and said: "It would have been impossible for me to have finished the journey alone. We crossed many countries with many difficulties. I'm proud to have been a member of the expedition team."

In about a week's time, two of the expedition trucks and another seven will form a new Renault motorcade. This new motorcade will bring a mobile exhibition of the expedition to some 15 Chinese cities.

Renault Trucks' CEO Stefano Chmielewski said the expedition is a starting point of their cooperation with Dong Feng Motors, a renowned Chinese truck manufacturer, which involves Renault's production of 36,000 trucks by 2010.

(Xinhua News Agency June 9, 2005)

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