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Hebei Zhongxing latest automaker with plans for U.S. market


AutoWeek | Published 06/23/06, 9:02 am et

Toyota, Honda, Nissan and a host of other automakers export cars to the United States.

So why not Hebei Zhongxing Automobile Co.?


Tiny Zhongxing (pronounced jong shing), which sold a grand total of 7,840 vehicles in 2005 (down 34.0 percent from 2004), became the fourth Chinese automaker with plans to sell cars in the United States.

One problem, though: The Chinese automaker has no models salable in the United States. They don't meet U.S. emissions and safety standards.

ZX Automobile Co. of North America, a subsidiary of China America Automotive Inc., of Parsippany, N.J., says it plans to import SUVs and pickups manufactured by Zhongxing in the second half of 2007.

Zhongxing president Xiao Wei has admitted that technology is a huge obstacle. But Zhongxing is charging ahead.

"We are studying the requirements for the U.S. market," said Yang Yongjin, manager of Zhongxing's import and export department. "We will need to make the right adjustments as far as emissions and safety requirements to our models. The project isn't the responsibility of my department yet."

Chery Automobile Co., a small but successful Chinese automaker, originally aimed to begin exports to the United States in 2007. But its engineers have admitted that the task is tougher than expected. They now think 2009 is more realistic.

China America is not the first U.S. company to claim it will import Zhongxing's vehicles. David Shelburg, an Arizona businessman, also has said he would import a Zhongxing SUV. But Zhongxing never announced the plan and no SUVs appeared.

Zhongxing is in Baoding, a city a few hours outside of Beijing in northern China. Baoding also is home to Great Wall Motor Co., another Chinese SUV maker aiming to sell vehicles in the United States."
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