Chang'an Motor Corp, partner of Ford Motor Co in China, has said it will start to build its own-brand cars in Iran in the first half of next year as its latest major push into the overseas market.
The fourth biggest Chinese auto group said its 1.3-liter Benben micro model will be assembled at a plant owned by Iranian partner PIDF with kits from China.
The plant will have an annual capacity of 50,000 cars initially that will be expanded to 250,000 units four years later, Chang'an said.
Xu Liuping, president of Chang'an, said the company aims to sell 200,000 vehicles abroad a year by 2010, up from 48,000 units last year.
To achieve the goal, Chang'an plans to have a total of eight overseas manufacturing sites and launch eight passenger car and commercial vehicle models abroad, Xu said.
The group now has factories in Malaysia and Pakistan, making micro buses.
Chang'an said it will also consider making forays into the US and European markets in the future. But it did not reveal a time frame.
In the first four months of this year, Chang'an's overseas sales jumped 40 percent year-on-year to 14,552 vehicles.
Other Chinese automakers are also speeding up their drive into the overseas market.
Chery, partner of Chrysler and Fiat, aims to move 400,000 cars overseas annually by 2010, up from almost 120,000 units last year. It plans to have a total of 14 plants abroad by the end of the decade.
Chery last August formed a joint venture with an Iranian company to make its QQ micro car in the Middle Eastern country this year.
Annual vehicle sales in Iran are in excess of 1 million units, with the majority of models with engine capacity between 1 and 1.6 liters.
Overall vehicle exports from China surged 76.7 percent to 250,400 units in the first four months of this year from a year ago, according to data from China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Chang'an announced in January that it aimed to move more than 1 million vehicles this year, up from 857,700 units in 2007.
The group has plants with Ford in the western city of Chongqing and Nanjing in the east, producing cars under the Ford, Mazda and Volvo badges.
Source: China Daily