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Iran Khodro may end partnership with Youngman Automobile
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Iran Khodro Investment Development Co may sever its partnership with Chinese auto maker Jinhua Youngman Automobile Manufacturing Co Ltd after just one year, state media said yesterday.

Iran Khodro, Iran's largest auto manufacturer, is expected to scale back its investment with Zhejiang-based Youngman. The Chinese car maker has sped up development with British maker Lotus Engineering after failing to gain enough technical support from Iran Khodro, Shanghai Securities News reported, citing an unidentified source.

Youngman is developing models with Lotus, while Iran Khodro is also pouring investment into China's fifth-largest car maker Chery Automobile Co Ltd, the Shanghai-based paper said.

Officials from Youngman declined to comment.

Iran Khodro signed a deal with Youngman in 2006 to set up a joint venture in China, with 70 percent of the stake held by Youngman.

The tie-up, part of Iran Khodro's plan to tap the emerging Chinese market, included a plant to make 30,000 Samand sedans a year in Shandong Province.

Details of the break-up haven't been outlined, said the newspaper, adding that Youngman plans to produce Lotus models in Shandong.

Youngman started cooperating with Malaysian car maker Proton, owner of Lotus, in July last year. The first model, an imported RCR roadster coupe, went on sale in China last month priced between US$17,800 and US$20,500.

(Shanghai Daily February 5, 2008)

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