UPDATE: March, 2007.
Dodge becomes the first carmaker to confirm plans to sell a Chinese-made car in America. China's Chery Automobile will build a future Dodge subcompact similar in size to the Hornet concept.
(source: Automobile Magazine).
Chery is from China, and is expected to enter the American market in 2007.
Chery Automobile is an automobile manufacturer in China. It is owned by the local government of Wuhu, and produced 86,567 vehicles in 2003.
Chery was founded in 1997 to prop up the economy in remote Wuhu. The company was not able to obtain a license to produce vehicles for sale in all of China, but was saved by an order for taxis by the local government. In 2001, Shanghai Automotive Industry Company (SAIC) invested in the company, allowing it to use SAIC's national retail sales license.
In 2003, Chery founded a research and development organization, quickly designing its own 3- and 4-cylinder engines. However, Chery was also sued by GM Daewoo for copying that company's Chevrolet Spark. Chery claims that they licensed the vehicle design prior to General Motors' purchase of Daewoo. Chery was able to scout a number of key engineers from Korea's Daewoo motors during its bankruptcy proceeding in 2001~2002, who took a complete set of plans with them and went on to create Daewoo vehicles at Chery. The copied vehicles are Daewoo Matiz(Chery QQ) mini car and Daewoo Magnus(Chery Son of The Orient) mid-size sedan. They are exact replicas of Daewoos, being able to swap door panels and key components between them. Both Matiz and Magnus are currently sold as Chevrolets in Europe and China.
In 2005, Chery started export of right hand drive vehicles to Malaysia. The rebadged Chery A15, is to be powered by BMWs Tritec engine.
Chery is working with Malcolm Bricklin's company, Visionary Vehicles, to be the first Chinese automobile sold in the United States. The plan calls for five new car lines to be imported, none of which exists today. The cars would include a basic, inexpensive model, a larger sedan, a sporty coupe, an SUV, and a sport wagon. Design would be handled by Bertone and Pininfarina of Italy. Bricklin plans to have 250 dealers in the United States selling 250,000 cars in 2007.
In March 2005, Chery received an export credit from China's Export and Import Bank of 5 billion yuan (US$605 million) to begin trading overseas. Chery also received a 2.4 billion yuan (US$290 million) loan from the China Development Bank to further finance its research and development. Chery has also attracted Western suppliers to Wuhu, including Tower Automotive, Siemens, and TRW. Delphi will also supply parts for Chery's vehicles.
The vehicles will probably not use the Chery name in the United States as Chevrolet felt it was too close to their "Chevy" nickname. Visionary hired Pierre Gagnon from Mitsubishi Motors North America as Chief Operating Officer in March, 2005, only to terminate his employment one month later. Gagnon felt that Visionary should be headquartered in California, while Bricklin wanted to keep the company in New York. As of June, 2005, the company had not yet signed up any of the 100 dealers promised before the fall.
Chery says it plans to build plants in the United States after selling a million cars there.
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