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Author`s name Alex Naumov

Chery Automobile to crack the US auto market

The first shipments of Chrysler cars built by China's Chery Automobile Co. could reach the U.S. or Europe within 30 months, Chrysler said on Wednesday, opening the door for Chery to be the first mainland auto maker to do so.

"The first product within one year, and then into the United States and western Europe within two to 2- years," Chrysler Group chief executive Tom LaSorda told reporters.

The first auto built by Chery Automobile Co. for Chrysler could be exported to North America, but not the United States, said LaSorda, who made the forecast at a Beijing signing ceremony marking a strategic alliance between the two auto makers.

Chrysler -- which is being sold by DaimlerChrysler AG to Cerberus Capital Management -- and Chery will develop, manufacture and distribute Chery-made small and sub-compact cars in North America, Europe and other major automotive markets, they said.

The deal was first announced last year but had been delayed by the sale of Chrysler.

The companies said the first auto would be a Dodge model, and as the cooperation developed the partners would look at other Chrysler brands.

"I would say there are endless possibilities," said LaSorda. "We are looking at multiple approaches."

Chrysler has said it needed to find a partner to develop a new small car because of the costs of designing, making and marketing a vehicle in a segment where margins are narrow and consumers expect a low sticker price, Reuters reports.

Chery sold a little more than 300,000 cars last year -- roughly the output of one large U.S. assembly plant. But like other Chinese automakers, Chery has long dreamed of a big presence in the United States, the world's largest and most lucrative car market.

At the same time, the Chinese government has aggressively supported the expansion of its automakers. Its goal is for Chinese cars to make up 10 percent of the world's auto trade in the next decade.

Chery's efforts to break into the United States have proven troublesome. Two years ago, it announced that it had teamed with Malcolm Bricklin, a veteran auto entrepreneur, to sell 250,000 cars here by this year. The deal fell apart.

Chery's move to break into the U.S. market follows the successful efforts of a number of Japanese and South Korean automakers over the past three decades. After years of exporting cars for sale in the United States, those pioneers built auto plants throughout the country. From that base, their U.S. sales expanded sharply.

Chery will still manufacture its cars in China, but by tying itself to a partner with thousands of outlets in the United States, it might be taking a shortcut, the Washington Post reports .

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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