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The local government of Guangdong Province wanted to attract more foreign investment, and they didn’t mind the bend the rules a bit if necessary.

Normally, if a foreign car company wanted to make cars in China it needed to start a 50-50 joint venture with a local automaker, and source, in those days, at least 60% of the parts in China. To ‘encourage’ foreign car makers to invest in local production the taxes on imported cars were extremely high, ranging roughly from 60 to 80%.

However, even with those taxes many foreign automakers hesitated. It could take years of negotiations for a joint venture to be approved, and then even more years before production could finally start. The central government would frequently interfere and rules would change by the day.

Guangdong Province had a solution. They quietly dropped the requirement that the Chinese partner should be an automaker, and more importantly they also decided to ignore to 60% parts-localization rate, meaning that a car was considered ‘made in China’ even when assembled entirely with imported parts. And finally the entrepreneurial province also cut the tax on car parts in half to 25%.

This opened the door to a few wild years of car production in Guangdong. The Japanese and Taiwanese got in first, followed by the Europeans and Americans. What they did was this: the foreign automaker would form a partnership with whatever Chinese company they could find, as long as it had some large and empty buildings.

The automaker would then import basically completed cars, marked as ‘parts’ by the friendly custom authorities. They could do so legally because the cars were not entirely complete, missing things like the wheels, the mirrors, and the windshield wipers. These parts would arrive separately. Everything would go to those empty buildings for ‘manufacturing’, new badges would be slapped on, and there was a brand new Chinese-made car ready to be sold on the car-hungry market, for a healthy profit, of course.
(Extracted from: CarNewsChina.com)
Erik, your are right.
 

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MEILU JJ7090

The license JJ7090 was also used by a Shenzhen company to sell Opel Corsa’s. The relationship with Jiangbei Machinery is unclear.

MEILU JJ7090/JJ7100
seats 5
length 3729mm
width 1608mm
height 1420mm
wheelbase 2443mm (*)
curb weight 870kg
max. speed 145km/h
engine C12NZ
cylinder capacity 993cc
output 33kW/5000rpm
gearbox 5 manual
tyres 145R13

(*) Opel Corsa wheelbase is 2343mm, so probably a mistake.

The assembly was organised by the Jiangmen Yuejiang Trade Company and the Hong Kong Yuehai (Group) Company, and took place in the Guangdong Jiangmen Sheli South Meilu Automotive Works.
About 4000 units of the KIA Sephia and Opel Corsa were made.

excerpt from my book: MADE IN CHINA, lost small cars of the 1990s.
see http://www.chinesecars.net/content/made-china-lost-small-cars-1990s-0
 

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Thanks for the specifications. I read that this Meilu was based on the Opel Corsa GT trim level. I don't know too much about this trim level, because that the only few hundred Opel Corsas' imported to Argentina were "City" trim level.
 
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