Chery Automobile, German-US carmaker DaimlerChrysler's new partner in China, has announced plans to build three plants abroad to assemble its own brand of cars.
Yin Tongyao, chairman of the company based in East China's Anhui Province, said the three plants will be built in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South America. "We will formulate a clear plan for these plants this year," he said.
Yin did not reveal the size of investment in the new plants, their production capacities or specific locations.
Chery, China's leading car exporter, already has six overseas facilities operated with partners in Iran, Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil and Egypt, according to Yin and the company's other executives.
Yin said earlier this month that Chery aims to sell at least 70,000 cars abroad this year, up from 50,000 units in 2006.
Last year, China's overall vehicle exports doubled to 340,000 units over 2005, with passenger cars tripling to 90,000 units.
A battery of other Chinese carmakers, such as Geely Automobile, Great Wall Motors and First Automotive Works Corp, also have plans to produce cars overseas.
Geely, a privately owned carmaker in East China's Zhejiang Province, plans to make cars in Malaysia, yet faces a major obstacle as Malaysia requires the company to sell 80 percent of its locally made cars outside the Southeast Asian country.
Geely said it aims to sell 33,000 cars abroad this year. It expects to raise its annual exports to 270,000 units by 2010.
Chery's efforts to export its own brand to the United States this year have been postponed after its potential partner, Visionary Vehicle LLC, said in November that the two sides ceased negotiations to form a joint venture to ship cars to the world's biggest car market.
Chrysler, the US unit of DaimlerChrysler, announced earlier this month that it has reached agreement with Chery to assemble its cars in China for the North American and European markets.
Yin from Chery said details for the deal will be announced soon.
The Chinese carmaker plans to lift its overall 2007 sales to at least 393,000 cars from 305,000 units last year and has set a sales goal of 1 million units by 2010.
Chery will launch seven new models this year to achieve its 2007 sales goal. These new products include a micro car, subcompact sedan, mid-sized sedan, small multi-purpose vehicle, mini van and sports car.
The company's 2006 sales ranked No 4 in the passenger car sector in China after General Motors' joint venture in Shanghai and Volkswagen's two ventures in Shanghai and Jilin.
DaimlerChrysler already has a venture with Beijing Automotive Industry Corp, making Chrysler sport utility vehicles and cars as well as luxury Mercedes-Benz sedans.
It has also formed a venture in East China's Fujian Province with a local partner to make Mercedes-Benz light trucks.
(China Daily January 23, 2007)