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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]
Now it appears that GM and SAIC Motor Corp in Shanghai have decided to set up a joint venture to further EV development, with the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) serving as the hub for development of new vehicle technologies and architecture.
According to an official press release from the General, ‘the agreement will leverage SAIC’s market knowledge and local expertise along with GM’s expertise in electric vehicle development and global know-how. It will ensure local input in the development of electric vehicle technology and the delivery of products developed in China.’
Tim Lee, president of GM’s International Operations believes that this latest joint venture, which builds on partnerships established by the U.S. auto giant and SAIC for 15 years, represents a broad range of benefits made possible by the commitment of the two companies in this venture, as well as representing an “unprecedented level of cooperation.”
Given current political pressure around the world to produce still cleaner, more efficient vehicles, the joint venture between GM and SAIC to develop electric vehicles may seem like a match made in heaven. In China, cars developed from this venture will be sold through SAIC and Shanghai GM, while in other markets both automakers plan to use the architecture to build and market cars and trucks.
However, some industry pundits predict that the partnership will ultimately benefit SAIC more than GM, given that both car makers plan to sell EVs in different markets around the world, which could lead to them competing directly against each other. It’ll be interesting to see how things unfold.
Having reported a first quarter net loss of 72 million Euros ($107 million), Saab‘s owner Spyker Cars has now said that, due to ongoing production problems at its assembly plant as well as supplier issues, the struggling Swedish automaker will simply not be able to meet it’s 2011 production forecasts.
In addition, although it’s been revealed that the company is aggressively seeking funding to help it through the short and mid-term, it looks like that includes three Chinese Automakers, even though, in an official statement, Saab CEO Victor Muller declined to mention any names.
According to Bloomberg, said companies are rumored to be China Youngman Automobile Group, Great Wall Motor Co and Jiangsu Yueda Group, with the possibility that Saab may have an agreement worked out with at least one of them in just days.
This follows on the heels of an announcement this week that Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov will invest approximately 30 million euros, in return for a 29.9 percent stake in Saab, a plan that was proved by both the Swedish Government and General Motors.
In a further effort to help restart production, Saab also said that it was raising funds from shareholders, “pursuing various initiatives to improve the group’s liquidity” in the words of the company, but declined to elaborate any further.
So far, since under Spyker stewardship, Saab has seen production rise, it sold 9,674 cars in the first quarter this year versus 3,060 during the same period a year ago, though clearly, there’s still much work to be done.
[Source: Automotive News]