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Several years ago the prospect of seeing Chery cars on our shores appeared imminent, thanks to a deal signed between the Chinese automaker and entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin.
However the deal fell apart and further plans to market cars in the US, including fledgling deals with Chrysler during its dark Cerberus period have come to nought.
Now, Chery is eying the European market, attempting to market a compact sedan called the Qoros that’s the result of a joint venture with Israel Corp (the Middle Eastern nation’s largest holding company). The Qoros is said to be more upmarket than anything Chery currently produces at home and both companies have ambitious plans, setting initial production targets of 150,000 units a year, with a new factory being constructed near Shanghai to produce the car.
In order to be sold in Europe, the Qoros will have to meet, among other things, NCAP safety standards; a goal has been set of achieving five-star crash status and former Mini design direct Gert Hildebrand has signed up to work on the project, while Austrian company Magna-Steyr is reported to be actively involved.
Whether such ambitions plans will come to fruition remains to be seen, especially in lieu of Chery’s previous failed attempts to infiltrate Western markets and past legal issues, ranging from trademark infringements to shady contract dealings. Nonetheless, if the Qoros does succeed, it just might mark the start of a new era in the automotive business and renewed low price competition in the European marketplace.
[Source: Left Lane News]
Executives spent two years talking to anyone who would listen about forging a partnership
Before Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 late last week the automaker explored every option, including selling the company to the Chinese and forging partnerships with any other manufacturer that expressed even a remote amount of interest.
In public bankruptcy filings, made at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, Chrysler’s co-president and vice-Chairman Tom LaSorda said that the company entertained offers from Chinese automakers Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co., Tempo International Group, Hawtai Automobiles, and Chery Automotive Co.
“Chrysler sent letters to parties, primarily in China, whom we thought would be potentially interested in purchasing our assets,” LaSorda wrote. “Over the next two months, several companies… expressed interest in purchasing specific vehicles, powertrains, intellectual property rights, distribution channels and automotive brands.”
In the end, however, none of those companies were interested.
LaSorda also said that over the past two years Chrysler has courted practically every other automaker out there, searching for a partner. The list includes Nissan, General Motors, Volkswagen, Tata, Magna, GAZ, Hyundai, Honda and Toyota.
Many off the arrangements didn’t have a leg to stand on, however, the talks with Nissan were thorough and only ended when Nissan couldn’t secure the credit needed to buy in to Chrysler.
La Sorda finally writes that a partnership with Fiat is the “best outcome,” although that might be stretching the truth, as it seems Fiat is the only automaker in the world with interest in Chrysler.
The Chrysler/Fiat deal, which began back in March of 2008, is now before the bankruptcy court. Fiat didn’t put any money into Chrysler but will provide $8 to $10 billion in small car technology in exchange for a 20 percent stake in the company. Fiat can get 15 percent more if it meets three benchmarks that the U.S. government has imposed, including building a 40 mpg car. That car will be a Chrysler version of the Fiat 500.
[Source: Detroit News]