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:confused:

This is not the first time that a non-automotive company has expressed interest in taking a share in China's lucrative car market. Mobile phone manufacturer, Bird, is also looking to establish a joint venture with Hunan-based Changfeng Motor. The joint venture is expected to begin production of small MPVs, known as the AM-08, by the beginning of next year.

http://www.automotiveworld.com/WAM/content.asp?contentid=56748
 

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Ningbo Bird makes a car

From China Car Times:

BYD’s parent company was probably one of the first cellphone making companies to see that the cellphone market in China was growing, but will peak out soon and were wise enough to start putting their money into cars, so they bought a bankrupt government owned car maker, Qingchuan (designers of the Flyer
- its not hard to figure out why they went bankrupt) and began making the BYD range of cars. Another phone maker, Ningbo Bird has also been thinking along the same lines as BYD and has subsequently teamed up with Changfeng to make a car. The Ningbo Bird/Changfeng MPV was shown off at the Shanghai car show (Erik tells us it was), below are the latest spy shots we’ve got of the car. We’re unsure when it will go on the market, whats powering it, or its eventual cost, all we know is it looks like a Renault Scenic from the side and something ugly from the front.
 

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Another news regarding Ningbo Bird from China Car Times:

The Changfeng made MPV, which both Changfeng and cellphone Ningbo Bird had a hand in making is coming down the production line tomorrow according to Changfeng and Chinese media reports.

The M1A code name has been dropped in favor of a proper name, the M1A is now to be known as the Qi Ling if this car gets exported or not, we dont know at this time, so its English name is currently unknown.

Changfeng tells us that British engineering firm Lotus worked on this cars chassis which Changfeng says gives it a high tech edge over its competitors, under the hood you can find the bog standard Shengyang Mitsubishi engine that many Chinese manufacturers use in their vehicles. The Qi Ling is well packed, coming with ABS, and EBD as standard.

The Qi Ling is Changfengs first stab at making a car, and it doesnt look too bad. Originally Changfeng were a truck maker set up by Mao Ze Dong to produce trucks for the growing Peoples Liberation Army. The world of truck making for the PLA must have hit a glass ceiling and Changfeng started to produce SUVs based off late 90’s Mitsubishi Shogun designs for domestic and military use in China.
 

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Chang Feng Motor going after new Joint ventures in China in 2008

good for changefeng, i expect more out of them since they have guts to come to detroit auto show

CHANGSHA, China — Just ahead of its scheduled return to the Detroit auto show, Chinese utility-vehicle specialist Changfeng said it plans to establish an engine plant together with Bird Group, the giant cell-phone manufacturer.

The engine plant, which recently won approval from the central government, is seen as a prelude to a joint car-making venture. It's all part of Bird's long-range plan to enter the auto business in China. The engine production line was acquired from Ford of Britain.

Changfeng and Bird showed a compact MPV concept called Qiling last year at the Shanghai auto show. The vehicle has begun pilot production at Changfeng's Changsha assembly plant.

Changfeng is one of four Chinese vehicle manufacturers scheduled to exhibit next week in Detroit. The company also is negotiating a joint assembly venture with longtime technology partner Mitsubishi. The two companies plan to build an updated version of the Pajero utility vehicle.

What this means to you: Here's a little trivia for you: Another Chinese automaker that will display in Detroit — BYD Auto — also got its start making cell-phone batteries. — Hu Lei, Correspondent

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=124196
 

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Watch the Bird

Bird makes cellphones but has got an itch to succeed with autos as well. After getting a taste of Fiat's frustration with Nanjing Auto, Bird dumped its car joint venture with NAC. It had joined NAC to build Soyats, but Bird could see the venture was going no where, as NAC was preoccupied with the "other project".
Bird is serious about automobiles and purchased bus maker Ningbo Shenma Auto in 2006. By 2009 it plans to complete a new coach-making plant with a capacity of 5,000 units.
Back in 2003 Bird had also entered negotiations with body builder Fudi Auto, but nothing seems to have come of that. Too bad because Fudi could have used some venture capital at that time.
 

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Cooperation between Ningbo and Chang comes to the end.

February 24, 2009

Gasgoo.com - The auto-making dreams of cell-phone maker Ningbo Bird Technology Co., Ltd. are shattered as its joint venture with Changfeng Motor comes to an end, China Business News reported today. The two companies are liquidating the assets of their car venture Changfeng Technology Co.

In October 2006, Changfeng and Bird formed a 50:50 joint venture Changfeng Technology Company, headquartered in Changfeng Motor's home base Changsha city of Hunan province, with its manufacturing base in Yongzhou of Hunan. The venture unveiled a compact MPV concept Qiling at the 2007 Shanghai auto show and launched the model to market in March 2008. But the car didn't sell well due to some defects and the market downturn.

Meanwhile, Changfeng, Bird and a Hongkong company jointly set up an engine plant -- Changfeng Motors Technology Co., Ltd.-- in December 2007, as part of Bird's long-range plan to enter the auto-making industry. The facility makes 1.6L, 1.8L and 2.0L engines of the CF series, with an annual output of 150,000 units. The engines rolled off line on January 16, 2009.

Bird aimed to shift its investment focus from cell-phone making to the car industry. This is different from crossover strategy of BYD, which has blazed a new trail into the auto sector after gaining success in the business of mobile phone components and batteries. With its car venture assets being liquidated, Bird's car-making ambitions are dashed.

Industry experts said that it is only a matter of time that Changfeng and Bird would divorce sooner or later, as they married at the booming period of the auto industry when Bird was seeking new profit-growth areas and Changfeng urgently needed financial support for its own-brand development.

Now after the market downturn, China's auto sector is entering a "survival of the fittest" period, Changfeng Motor sees its own-brand models as top priorities, and Bird's financial strengths have become history. Therefore, the foundations of the Changfeng-Bird tie-up have come loose.

However, Bird will continue to hold its share in the auto engine projects of the Changfeng Motors Technology Co. and will support its engine research and development center in Shanghai.
 
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