Chery Automobile, the Chinese carmaker set to team with US counterpart Chrysler to assemble vehicles in China, expects its 2007 sales to grow by 29 percent over last year.
The company, owned by the government of Wuhu in Anhui Province, plans to sell 393,000 cars this year, up from 305,000 units in 2006, Chery Chairman Yin Tongyao said.
"This is our minimum goal. We will preserve our position as one of the top-four carmakers in China this year," Yin said.
Its 2006 sales ranked Chery as the No 4 carmaker in China, following General Motors' joint venture in Shanghai and Volkswagen's two facilities, one in Shanghai, and another in Jilin Province.
Even if realized, Chery's projected sales growth this year would be down sharply from the more than 60 percent growth it registered in 2006.
Yin explained that slowing growth is due to the firm's insufficient production capacity.
Chery now has an annual production capacity of 400,000 cars. It is building a new 300,000-unit plant that will be operational next year.
Yin said Chery also aims to export 70,000 cars this year, up from 50,000 in 2006, ensuring the company would retain its top spot as the leading Chinese carmaker in overseas shipments.
Chery's sales chief Li Feng said the company plans to roll out seven new models this year, ranging in size from micro, subcompact, compact and mid-sized models to mini multi-purpose vehicles, mini vans and sporty cars.
The company's sales growth this year will mainly come from these new vehicles, Li said.
Chrysler said earlier it has agreed with Chery to build its cars in China for the North American and European markets.
(China Daily January 18, 2007)