Sunday, July 30, 2006

Chinese Cars Gain Foothold in Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela — Chinese automobile manufacturers are seeking a share of Venezuela's car market, which has grown with the help of an oil-fueled consumption boom.

President Hugo Chavez has long been trying to foster greater economic ties with the Asian giant. On top of greater energy and mining sector cooperation, Chavez has also pursued Chinese development of a computer assembly line in the Andean nation.

Two Chinese car dealers have recently set up showrooms across Venezuela to try to compete with more established brands.

Great Wall Motors, China's largest car maker, is offering large utility vehicles.

The second, Cinascar, a Chinese automobile dealership owned by GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co., a unit of General Motors Corp. based in South Korea, began selling vehicles in March and now has 17 showrooms across the country.

The company offers vehicles from six different Chinese car makers, including cars by Chery Automobile Co., a state-owned Chinese company that specializes in economy cars.

"We just started, but we sold 300 vehicles just last month," said Karen Frances, head of sales for Cinascar's main distribution center.

Chery's QQ model, has made up almost 50 percent of the cars sold, Frances noted.

The QQ, a four cylinder, four-door compact vehicle, sells for as little as 19 million bolivars ($8,800), cheaper than Chevrolet's Spark, its nearest competitor.

U.S. car manufacturers including GM and Ford Motors Co. assemble vehicles in Venezuela and make up the bulk of the vehicles sold every month.

Venezuela's economy soared 9.4 percent in the first quarter of 2006. Economists estimate economic growth will run between 6 percent and 8 percent this year.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Chinese cars target US auto show

At least four Chinese automakers are expected to take display space at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, US media reported.
In January 2006, China's Geely Automobile made debut by a Chinese carmaker at the US auto show. It exhibited a $10,000 small sedan to reporters only in a booth outside the show's main hall. This year, Geely will come back.

Moreover, three other companies, including Hunan Chang Feng Group, Great Wall Motor Company and Hebei Zhongxing Automobile Company, are also in talks for display space in Cobo Hall of the January 2007 show, said the Detroit News.
US show officials said it's a prelude for the entry of Chinese-made cars to the United States.
Though still a small player compared to the world's biggest auto manufacturers, Chinese carmakers are considering measures to boost their overseas sales. The Chinese government also hope that automobiles will become an increasingly important component of the country's exports, according to earlier report. Geely, the Chinese mainland's largest private automaker, last year sold about 7,000 sedans in more than 30 countries and regions, mostly in the Middle East, Africa and Central America. It announced plans to begin exporting cars to the US mainland in 2008. Zhongxing wants to sell 40,000 vehicles in the United States annually starting next year, including a pickup and an SUV.
The Chery Automobile, an independent Chinese carmaker based in East China's Anhui Province, hopes to enter the US market in 2008, the newspaper said