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"ChangAn Automobile Group, China’s third largest automaker, has forged new cooperative ground for the vehicular industry by signing a deal that will see its light trucks be made in the US, according to the Shanghai Securities Journal.

The journal reported Monday that Tiger Truck LLC, a private US truck manufacturer headquartered in Dallas, Texas, plans to open a new assembly plant in Poteau City, Oklahoma to welcome ChangAn’s trucks. The company has announced the manufacturing agreements on its official website. Chongqing ChangAn Kuayue Automobile Co., Ltd. one of ChangAn Group’s subsidiary companies, will actually partner up directly with Tiger Truck, according to ChangAn’s publicity department.

"ChangAn Kuayue is to carry out the agreement with Tiger Truck by ways of techniques and auto parts export,” local magazine China Auto Review wrote, quoting Zhou, the manager of ChangAn Kuayue’s marketing department. "The plant will start with ChangAn’s 1021 series of light trucks equipped either with gasoline or diesel engines," Zhuo said.

The Poteau plant will in total cater for two series of trucks, including the full-sized ‘Champ’ pickup truck and the medium duty ‘Leopard’ truck. Initially, 20 percent of the products will be sold in the US, with the rest to be shipped to the rest of the North American market such as Canada and Mexico, said Tiger Truck’s website, adding that all products will be certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency and Californi a Air Resources Board.

The 112,000-square-foot plant lies in the Poteau Industrial Park and Tiger Truck is ready to hire 100 employees this year to man the facility and produce 7,500 vehicles per year in 2008. The staff roster is thought likely to expand to around 300 by the end of 2009. Since 1999, Tiger Truck has enjoyed being ChangAn’s sole exclusive importer and distributor. This agreement will meet the need to produce low speed vehicles, while bolstering US job opportunities and addressing the trade imbalance between the two powers.

"Tiger is particularly pleased to counter that trend by bringing jobs and business to the US. Our long-standing partnership with ChangAn has been exemplary and has led to this historic first," Mike Ward, founder and CEO of Tiger Truck, was quoted as saying."

- Shanghai Daily -
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