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Shanghai, July 28 ( After terminating the contract with its former partner, the New Jersey-based vehicle importer CHAMCO (China America Cooperative), Chinese maker of pickups and SUVs Zhongxing Auto is set to explore the U.S. market by joining hands with Changan Auto, reported The Beijing News today.

A Zhongxing insider told the newspaper that Changan Group's vice president recently visited Hebei-based Zhongxing Auto to talk about jointly exploring the American market in the future. The two sides have agreed to develop a special "mini-truck" model together as an initial product for export to the U.S., with other models to follow up.

Their jointly-developed models for export to the American market will be assembled by Zhongxing Auto out of components from suppliers of both companies, and the finished vehicles will be exported to the U.S. through Zhongxing's overseas sales network. Analysts said that Changan Auto would take this opportunity to acquire Zhongxing Auto and make it an SUV and pick manufacturing base of Changan.

In mid-July when the talks were underway between the two Chinese automakers, there were three American "guests" seen on their inspection tour of Zhongxing's factories, research and development center, and other facilities, making detailed inquiries about the production, quality control, and logistics of the pickup maker.

It is obvious that Zhongxing-Changan's joint plan for exporting pickups and SUVs to the U.S. is set for implementation soon. According to its global growth agenda, Changan Auto aims to sell 200,000 vehicles overseas in 2010, with the United States and Europe as its major target markets
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