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Auto Production Deal Clinched
Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motor Corp (MMC) and Beijing Jeep Co yesterday clinched a new technical licensing production deal worth up to US$80 million.

The deal means MMC will bring its newly developed Outlander sports utility vehicle (SUV) into Beijing Jeep, a joint venture between Beijing Automotive Industry Corp and German-US giant Daimler Chrysler, beginning from the first quarter of 2004.

It comes six months after MMC and Beijing Jeep reached a similar agreement to produce the Japanese firm's Pajero Sport SUV as part of the Chinese joint venture to begin at the start of next year.

"Today's signing (of the new deal) is an important milestone in our overall strategy in the fast-growing Chinese market," Rolf Eckrodt, chief executive officer of MMC, said at a press conference yesterday in Beijing.

The annual sales target for the Outlander will be 20,000 units, and for the Pajero Sport 10,000 units, according to MMC, of which 37.3 per cent is owned by Daimler Chrysler.

"Our co-operation with MMC will expand our product lines and will enable us to regain a competitive edge and enhance our profit-making capability," said An Qingheng, chairman of the board of Beijing Jeep.

Beijing Jeep, in the past a strong player in the Chinese auto market , has been in the red for some years.

However, An said the joint venture has laid down a revitalization plan aimed at producing profits of more than 100 million yuan (US$12 million) by 2004, based on the co-operation with MMC and Daimler Chrysler.

(China Daily November 6, 2002)

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